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ANNUAL   REPORT 


OF  THE 


I-      Americm  Histoeical  Association 


FOB 


THE   YE^R  1893. 


^K 


WASHINGTON : 

GOVERNMENT  PRINTING  OFFICE. 

1894. 


5 


FIFTY-THIRD  CONGRESS,  SECOND  SESSION. 


March  o,  1894.— In  the  Senate  of  the  United  States.    The  Vice-Presi- 
dent presented  the  following  Annual  Report  of  the  American  Historical 
Association.    Referred  to  the  Committee  on  Printing  and  ordered  to  be 
printed. 
n 


LETTER  OF  SUBMITTAL. 


Smithsonian  Institution, 
Washington,  D.  €.,  March  5,  1894. 
To  the  Congress  of  the  United  States: 

In  accordance  with  the  act  of  incorporation  of  the  American 
Historical  Association,  approved  January  4, 1889, 1  have  the 
honor  to  submit  to  Congress  the  annual  report  of  said  associa- 
tion for  the  year  1893. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient 
servant, 

S.  P.  Langley, 
Secretary  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution, 

Hon.  Adlai  E.  Stevenson, 

President  of  the  Senate, 
Hon.  Charles  F.  Crisp, 

Spealcer  of  the  Souse, 


ACT  OF  INCORPORATION. 


Be  it  enacted  hy  the  Senate  and  Souse  of  Representatives  of 
the  United  States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled.  That 
Andrew  D.  White,  of  Ithaca,  in  the  State  of  New  York  j  George 
Bancroft,  of  Washington,  in  the  District  of  Columbia  5  Justin 
Winsor,  of  Cambridge,  in  the  State  of  Massachusetts;  William 
F.  Poole,  of  Chicago,  in  the  State  of  Illinois  5  Herbert  B.  Adams, 
of  Baltimore,  in  the  State  of  Maryland;  Clarence  W.  Bowen, 
of  Brooklyn,  in  the  State  of  I^ew  York;  their  associates  and 
successors,  are  hereby  created  in  the  District  of  Columbia  a 
body  corporate  and  politic,  by  the  name  of  the  American  His- 
torical Association,  for  the  promotion  of  historical  studies,  the 
collection  and  preservation  of  historical  manuscripts,  and  for 
kindred  purposes  in  the  interest  of  American  history  and  of 
history  in  America.  Said  association  is  authorized  to  hold  real 
and  personal  estate  in  the  District  of  Columbia,  so  far  only  as 
may  be  necessary  to  its  lawful  ends,  to  an  amount  not  exceed- 
ing five  hundred  thousand  dollars,  to  adopt  a  constitution,  and 
to  make  by-laws  not  inconsistent  with  law.  Said  association 
shall  have  its  principal  office  at  Washington,  in  the  District  of 
Columbia,  and  may  hold  its  annual  meetings  in  such  places  as 
the  said  incorporators  shall  determine.  Said  association  shall 
report  annually  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Smithsonian  Institu- 
tion concerning  its  proceedings  and  the  condition  of  historical 
study  in  America.  Said  Secretary  shall  communicate  to  Con- 
gress the  whole  of  such  reports,  or  such  portions  thereof  as  he 
shall  see  fit.  The  regents  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution  are 
authorized  to  permit  said  association  to  deposit  its  collections, 
manuscripts,  books,  pamphlets,  and  other  material  for  history 
in  the  Smithsonian  Institution  or  in  the  I^ational  Museum,  at 
their  discretion,  upon  such  conditions  and  under  such  rules  as 
they  shall  prescribe. 

[Approved,  January  4, 1889.] 


LETTER  OF  TRANSMITTAL. 


American  Histoeical  Association, 

Baltimore,  Md.,  February  24, 1894. 
Sir:  In  compliance  with  tlie  act  of  incorporation  of  the 
American  Historical  Association,  approved  January  4, 1889, 
which  requires  that  "said  association  shall  report  annually  to 
the  Secretary  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution  concerning  its 
proceedings  and  the  condition  of  historical  study  in  America," 
I  have  the  honor  to  transmit  herewith  my  general  report  of  the 
proceedings  of  the  American  Historical  Association  at  their 
ninth  annual  meeting,  held  in  Chicago,  July  11-13, 1893.  In 
addition  to  the  general  summary  of  proceedings,  I  send  also 
the  inaugural  address  of  Dr.  James  B.  Angell,  president  of  the 
t^iQ  association,  and  some  of  the  papers  read  at  the  Chicago 
meeting.  In  order  to  show  the  condition  and  progress  of 
historical  study  in  America,  I  append  to  the  report  of  the 
association  certain  contributions  toward  a  bibliography  of 
American  history,  from  1888  to  1892,  adapted  from  reports  to 
the  Jahresbericht  der  Geschichtswissenschaft  of  Berlin,  by  Dr. 
John  Martin  Yincent. 
Very  respeotfiiUy, 

Herbert  B.  Adams, 

Secretary, 
Prof.  S.  P.  Lan^ley, 

Secretary  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution, 


AMERICAN    HISTORICAL    ASSOCIATION. 

Organized  at  Saratoga,  N.  Y.,  September  10,  1884. 


OBT-ICERS    FOR    1894r. 


President : 
HEXRY  ADAMS, 
Washington f  D.  C. 

Vice-Presidents  : 

EDWAED  G.  MASON, 

Chicago,  III. 

Hon.  GEOEGE  F.  HOAB, 

Worcester,  Mass. 

Treasurer  : 

CLAEENCE  WIXTHEOP  BOWEX,  Ph.  D., 

Fulton  and  Xassau  Streets,  Xew  YorJc  City. 

Secretary  : 

HEEBEET  B.  ADAMS,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D., 

Professor  of  History  in  the  Johns  Hopkins  University,  Baltimore,  Md. 

Assistant  Secretary  and  Curator  : 

A.  HOWARD  CLARK, 

Curator  of  Historical  Collections,  Xational  Museum,  Washin0on,  D,  C. 

Executive  Council : 

(In  addition  to  the  above-named  officers.) 

Hon.  AXDEEW  D.  WHITE,  LL.  D.,  L.  H.  D., 

Ithaca,  X.  Y. 

JUSTIX  WIXSOE,  LL.  D., 

Cambridge,  Mass. 

CHARLES  KENDALL  ADAMS,  LL.  D., 

President  of  University  of  Wisconsin,  Madison, 

Hon.  WILLIAM  WIET  HENEY, 

Bichmond,  Va. 

WILLIAM  F.  POOLE,  LL.  D., 

Librarian  of  Xeicberry  Library,  Chicago. 

Hon.  JOHX  JAY,  LL.  D., 

Xew  York  City. 

JAMES  B.  AXGELL,  LL.  D., 

President  of  University  of  Mickigan,  Ann  Arbor. 

G.  BEOWX  GOODE,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D., 

Assistant  Secretary  Smithsonian  Institution,  in  Charge  of  (A«  Xational  Museuwi. 

JOHN  GEOEGE  BOUEIXOT,  C.  M.  G.,  LL.  D.,  D.  C.  L., 

Clerk  of  the  Canadian  House  of  Commons. 

J.  B.  McMASTEE, 

Professor  of  History  in  the  University  of  Pennsylvania,  Phil4idelphia. 

GEORGE  B.  ADAMS, 

Professor  of  History  in  Yale  University,  Xew  Haven. 

vn 


CONTENTS. 


Page. 
I.  Report  of  Proceedings  of  Ninth  Annual  Meeting  in  Chicago, 

July  11-13,  1893,  by  Herbert  B.  Adams,  Secretary 1 

II.  Inaugural  Address  by  Dr.  James  B.  Angell,  President  of 
the  Association,  on  the  Inadequate  Recognition  of  Diplo- 
matists by  Historians 13 

III.  The  Value  of  National  Archives,  by  Mrs.   Ellen  Hardin 

Walworth 25 

IV.  American  Historical  Nomenclature,  by  Hon.  Ainsworth  R. 

Spofford 33 

V.  The  Definition  of  History,  by  Col.  William  Preston  John- 
ston          43 

VI.  Historical  Industries,  by  Dr.  James  Schouler 55 

VII.  The  Historical  Method  of  Writing  the  History  of  Christian 

Doctrine,  by  Prof.  Charles  J.  Little 67 

VIII.  The  Requirements  for  the  Historical  Doctorate  in  America, 

by  Prof.  Ephraim  Emerton 77 

IX.  The  First  Fugitive  Slave  Case  of  Record  in  Ohio,  by  Hon. 

William  Henry  Smith 91 

X.  The  Present  Status  of  Pre-Columbian  Discovery  of  America 

by  Norsemen,  by  Hon.  James  Phinney  Baxter 101 

XI.  Prince  Henry,  the  Navigator,  by  Prof.  Edward  G.  Bourne.      Ill 
XII.  The  Economic  Conditions  of  Spain  in  the  Sixteenth  Cen- 
tury, by  Prof.  Bernard  Moses 123 

XIII.  The  Union  of  Utrecht,  by  Prof.  Lucy  M.  Salmon 135 

XIV.  English  Popular  Uprisings  of  the  Middle  Ages,  by  Dr. 

George  Kriehn 149 

XV.  Jefferson  and  the  Social  Compact  Theory,  by  Prof.  George 

P.  Fisher 163 

i^<XVI.  The  Relation  of  History  to  Politics,  by  Prof.  Jesse  Macy..      179 
XVII.  Early  Lead  Mining  in  Illinois  and  Wisconsin,  by  Reuben 

G.  Thwaites,  esq 189 

XVIII.  The  Significance  of  the  Frontier  in  American  History,  by 

Prof.  Frederick  J.  Turner 197 

XIX.  Roger  Sherman  in  the  Federal  Convention,  by  Dr.  Lewis  H. 

Boutell 229 

XX.  The  Historical  Significance  of  the  Missouri  Compromise, 

by  Prof.  James  A.  Woodburn 249 

XXI.  The    First   Legislative  Assembly  in    America,  by  Hon. 

William  Wirt  Henry 299 

IX 


> 


X  CONTENTS. 

Page. 
XXII.  Naturalization  in  the  English  Colonies  of  America,  by  Miss 

Cora  Start 317 

XXIII.  The  Establishment  of  the  First  Southern  Boundary  of  the 

United  States,  by  Prof.  B .  A.  Hinsdale 339 

XXIV.  The  Historic  Policy  of  the  United  States  as  to  Annexation, 

by  Prof.  Simeon  E.Baldwin 367 

XXV.  The  Origin  of  the  Standing  Committe.   System  in  Ameri- 
can Legislative  Bodies,  by  Proi.  J.  Franklin  Jameson.. .       391 
XXVI.  Gen.  Joseph  Martin  and  the  Wax  of  the  Revolution  in  the 

West,  by  Prof.  Stephen  B.  Weeks I    401 

XXVII.  The  Annals  of  an  Historic  Town,  by  Prof.  F.  W.  Blackmar.      479 
XXVIII.  Contributions  toward  a  Bibliography  of  American  History, 
1888-1892,  adapted  from  Reports  to  the  Jahresbericht 
der  Geschichtswissenschaft  of  Berlin,  by  Dr.  John  Martin 

Vincent .  - 501 

Index 573 


L-REPORT  OF  PROCEEDINGS  OF  NINTH  ANNUAL  MEETING  OF 
THE  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 


Chicago,  III.,  July  11-13,  1893. 


S.  Mis.  104 1 


REPORT  OF  PROCEEDINGS  OF  NINTH  ANNUAL  MEETING  OF  THE 
AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 


By  Herbert  B.  Adams,  Secretary. 


The  American  Historical  Associatian  held  its  ninth  annual 
meeting  July  11-13, 1893,  in  the  city  of  Chicago,  with  morning 
and  evening  sessions  at  the  Art  Institute.  This  meeting  was 
held  in  conjunction  with  the  World's  Historical  Congress. 
The  Chicago  committee  representing  this  congress,  or  the  his- 
torical section  of  the  department  of  literature,  are  members  of 
the  American  Historical  Association  and  cooperated  efficiently 
with  its  officers  and  its  committee  on  programme.  Dr.  Wil- 
liam F.  Poole,  of  the  Kewberry  Library,  was  the  chairman  of 
the  Chicago  committee,  and  to  his  personal  efforts  is  largely 
due  the  success  of  the  Chicago  meeting.  A  brief  report  of  the 
exercises  was  prepared  by  him  and  was  published  in  The 
Independent  July  20, 1893. 

On  Monday  evening,  July  10,  members  of  the  Historical 
Association  and  others  visiting  Chicago  for  the  purpose  of 
attending  the  various  congresses,  were  given  a  social  recep- 
tion at  the  Art  Institute.  On  the  following  morning  the  his- 
torical congress  was  called  to  order  by  Dr.  Poole,  who  nom- 
inated Dr.  James  B.  Angell  as  temporary  president  and  Dr. 
Herbert  B.  Adams  as  temporary  secretary.  Hon.  William 
Wirt  Henry  afterwards  moved  that  the  two  be  made  the  officers 
of  the  congress  during  its  session  in  Chicago. 

The  programme  for  the  ninth  annual  meeting  of  the  Ameri- 
can Historical  Association  was  practically  identical  with  that 
of  the  World's  Historical  Congress,  and  comprised  33  papers, 
23  of  which  were  read.  Others  were  contributed  to  the  pro- 
ceedings and  were  read  by  title. 

President  Angell  in  his  inaugural  address  spoke  of  '''  The 
inadequate  recognition  of  diplomatists  by  historians."    Mrs. 


4  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Ellen  Hardin  Walworth,  of  Saratoga,  read  a  paper  at  the  first 
morning  session  on  "The  valne  of  national  archives  to  a 
nation's  life  and  progress."  This  paper  gave  rise  to  a  dis- 
cussion upon  the  desirability  of  a  department  of  national 
archives  in  Washington,  and  remarks  were  made  by  Dr.  W.  F. 
Poole,  President  Charles  Kendall  Adams,  and  others.  Dr. 
Poole,  in  his  report  of  the  Chicago  meeting  published  in  The 
Independent,  says: 

The  historical  papers  in  the  State  Department  are  not  accessible  to  the 
historical  student  except  as  a  special  favor,  and  they  are  not  arranged, 
classified,  and  calendared.  The  State  Department  has  no  space  for  his- 
torical archives  and  no  archivist  who  understands  their  management  or 
has  time  to  give  to  the  needs  of  historical  investigators.  Indeed,  these 
are  not  the  functions  of  the  State  Department.  At  Ottawa,  however, 
Canada  has  a  department  of  archives ;  it  is  an  excellent  one,  and  under 
the  charge  of  a  most  competent  archivist.  American  historians,  when 
they  need  to  consult  the  original  documents  relating  to  our  own  history, 
often  go  to  Ottawa  to  see  papers  which  should  be  in  Washington. 

A  resolution  was  offered  to  the  effect  that  a  committee  be 
appointed  to  memorialize  Congress  to  establish  a  department 
of  archives.  It  was  moved  by  President  Charles  Kendall 
Adams  that  this  committee  should  consist  of  nine  persons, 
with  President  Angell  as  chairman,  and  that  his  associates  be 
named  by  him.  This  motion  was  carried,  and  the  committee 
subsequently  appointed  was  as  follows : 

President  James  B.  Angell,  Hon.  William  Wirt  Henry,  Dr. 
J.  L.  M.  Curry,  Hon.  Geo.  F.  Hoar,  Dr.  Justin  Winsor,  Presi- 
dent C.  K.  Adams,  Dr.  James  Schouler,  Dr.  W.  F.  Poole,  Mrs. 
Walworth. 

A  paper  on  ''American  historical  nomenclature,^' by  Hon. 
Ainsworth  R.  Spofford,  Librarian  of  Congress,  was  read  at 
the  Tuesday  morning  session  by  the  secretary.  This  paper 
was  an  earnest  plea  for  the  retention  of  native  American 
names  for  American  places.  Mr.  Spofford  gave  an  interesting 
statistical  summary  of  the  influence  of  Hebrew,  Greek,  Roman, 
and  other  foreign  names  upon  American  local  nomenclature. 

At  the  Tuesday  evening  session  Dr.  James  Schouler,  of 
Boston,  read  a  paper  upon  the  "  Methods  of  historical  investi- 
gation." After  alluding  to  the  liberal  fortune  expended  by 
Mr.  Hubert  H.  Bancroft  in  his  recent  history  of  the  Pacific 
States,  and  to  the  corps  of  literary  assistants  employed  by  him 
in  exhuming  the  contents  of  his  large  library  of  20,000  vol- 
umes, Dr.  Schouler  considered  the  value  of  such  organized 


PROCEEDINGS   AT   ANNUAL   MEETING.  5 

methods  of  historical  research  as  compared  with  the  efforts 
of  an  individual  scholar,  who  conducts  systematically  his 
own  studies  into  the  period  which  he  means  to  describe,  and 
who  vses  an  amanuensis  only  for  strictly  clerical  work.  His 
own  personal  experience  favored  the  latter  method,  as  capa- 
ble, under  suitable  self-training,  of  very  extensive  and  satis- 
factory results.  The  trained  assistance  which  one  employs 
with  only  a  mercenary  interest  in  the  study  can  accomplish 
little  after  all  as  compared  with  one  mind  inspired  for  its  task 
and  concentrating  its  powers  upon  what  it  seeks. 

Prof.  Charles  J.  Little,  of  Northwestern  University,  dis- 
cussed the  ^^  Historical  method  of  writing  the  history  of  Christ- 
ian doctrine."  Prof.  Ephraim  Emerton,  of  Harvard  University, 
contributed  a  paper  on  the  "Historical  doctorate  in  America," 
advocating  higher  standards  of  graduate  work  and  academic 
requirement.  William  Henry  Smith,  of  the  Associated  Press, 
spoke  of  the  "First  fugitive  slave  case  in  Ohio,"  and  Dr.  Fred- 
eric Bancroft,  of  Washington,  presented  an  essay  on  "Mr. 
Seward's  position  toward  the  South  at  the  outbreak  of  the 
civil  war." 

Wednesday  morning  James  Phinney  Baxter,  of  Portland, 
Me.,  reviewed  the  "Present  status  of  pre-Columbian  dis- 
covery," and  Prof.  Edward  G.  Bourne,  of  Adelbert  College, 
emphasized  the  work  of  Prince  Henry,  the  navigator,  in  per- 
sistently and  systematically  promoting  the  exploration  of  the 
west  coast  of  Africa  for  over  forty  years  (1416-60.)  This  work 
was  of  immense  importance  in  preparing  the  way  for  Colum- 
bus, Diaz,  Da  Gama,  and  Magellan.  The  sailors  of  Prince 
Henry  showed  that  the  region  about  the  equator  was  inhabit- 
able and  inhabited,  and  that  the  traditional  terrors  of  the 
ocean  had  little  reality.  An  examination  of  the  contemporary 
accounts  of  Prince  Henry's  work,  especially  a  series  of  docu- 
ments recently  published  by  the  Portuguese  Government,  and 
the  papal  bull  of  Nicholas  Y,  (1454)  shows  that  it  was  carried 
on  for  four  purposes — to  explore  unknown  parts  of  the  world, 
to  spread  Christianity,  to  reach  the  Indies  by  sailing  around 
Africa,  and  to  promote  commerce.  Much  of  his  success  was 
owing  to  his  unfaltering  persistency  in  spite  of  temporary 
failure,  and  to  the  enthusiastic  devotion  which  he  inspired  in 
his  followers.  If  Columbus  had  never  lived,  it  seems  inevi- 
table that  America  would  have  been  discovered  by  Portuguese 
seamen  following  out  the  work  begun  by  Prince  Henry. 


6  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Prof.  Bernard  Moses^  of  the  University  of  California,  dis- 
cussed '*  The  economic  conditions  of  Spain  in  the  sixteenth 
century,"  and  Prof.  Lucy  M.  Salmon,  of  Yassar  College, 
showed  the  historic  importance  of  the  Union  of  Utrecht.  At 
the  Tuesday  evening  session  Dr.  George  Kriehn  read  a  short 
paper  on  "  English  popular  uprisings  of  the  Middle  Ages." 
Prof.  George  P.  Fisher,  of  Yale  University,  contributed  a  sug- 
gestive essay  on  "The  social  compact  and  Mr.  Jefferson's 
adoption  of  it."  Prof.  Jesse  Macy,  of  Iowa  College,  presented  a 
careful  study  of  "The  relation  of  history  to  politics."  Reuben 
G.  Thwaites,  secretary  of  the  Wisconsin  Historical  Society, 
read  a  paper  on  "  Early  lead  mining  in  Illinois  and  Wiscon- 
sin," and  Prof.  F.  J.  Turner,  of  the  University  of  Wisconsin, 
explained  the  "Significance  of  the  frontier  in  American 
history."  Up  to  our  own  day,  he  said,  American  history  has 
been  in  a  large  degree  the  history  of  the  colonization  of  the 
great  west.  This  ever-retreating  frontier  of  unoccupied  land 
is  the  key  to  our  development.  The  settlement  of  the  prob- 
lems that  arose  at  one  frontier  served  as  guides  for  the  next 
frontier — for  example,  in  matters  relating  to  land  policy  and  the 
Indians.  There  are  various  kinds  of  frontiers  which  passed 
westward  in  successive  waves — for  example,  the  Indian's  fron- 
tier, the  trader's  frontier,  the  miner's  or  rancher's  frontier,  and 
the  farmer's  frontier.  The  methods  of  advance  and  the  char- 
acteristics of  each  were  traced,  showing  how  the  Indian  was 
pushed  back  and  how  each  frontier  affected  its  successor.  It 
was  found  that  the  successive  frontiers  revealed  the  progress 
of  society.  At  the  same  time  the  United  States  could  show 
the  hunting  stage,  the  pastoral  stage,  the  agricultural  stage, 
and  the  manufacturing  stage,  as  the  traveler  crossed  the  con- 
tinent from  west  to  east. 

At  the  Thursday  morning  session  Dr.  Lewis  H.  Boutell,  of 
Chicago,  read  a  paper  on  "Eoger  Sherman  in  the  :N'ational 
Constitutional  Convention."  Prof.  Charles  H.  Haskins,  of  the 
University  of  Wisconsin,  discussed  the  "Eleventh  amendment 
of  the  Constitution."  This  amendment  was  introduced  into 
Congress  in  1794  and  declared  in  force  in  1798.  It  provides 
that  the  judicial  power  of  the  United  States  shall  not  be  con- 
strued to  extend  to  any  suit  in  law  or  equity  begun  or  prose- 
cuted against  one  of  the  United  States  by  citizens  of  another 
State  or  by  citizens  or  subjects  of  any  foreign  state.  Its  judi- 
cial construction  involves  important  and  intricate  questions  of 


PROCEEDINGS   AT   ANNUAL   MEETING.  i 

constitutional  law,  and  earlier  opinions  have  been  somewhat 
modified  in  the  recent  cases,  many  of  them  arising  from  the 
repudiation  of  debts  in  the  Southern  States,  which  have  been 
persistently  forced  on  the  courts.  Thus,  in  1890,  in  the  case 
of  Hans  v.  Louisiana,  the  Supreme  Court  decided  that  a  sov- 
ereign State  could  not  be  sued,  even  by  her  own  citizens,  and 
that  the  decision  in  Ohisholm  v.  Georgia  was  incorrect.  The 
term  "  sovereign  State,"  however,  as  here  used  denotes  finan- 
cial rather  than  political  independence  and  differs  widely  in 
meaning  from  the  use  of  one  hundred  or  even  fifty  years  ago. 
The  free  repudiation  of  public  contracts  in  many  States,  and 
the  impossibility  of  enforcing  many  of  the  constitutional  re- 
strictions upon  States,  have  led  some  to  propose  a  repeal  of 
the  eleventh  amendment,  though  there  has  been  as  yet  no 
general  movement  in  that  direction. 

Prof.  James  A.  Woodburn,  of  the  Indiana  State  University, 
described  the  "Historical  significance  of  the  Missouri  compro- 
mise." Hon.  William  Wirt  Henry,  of  Eichmond,  Ya.,  presented 
a  paper  on  the  "First  legislative  assembly  in  America." 
Although  Virginia,  the  oldest  English  colony  in  America,  was 
at  first  under  military  government,  it  was  allowed  the  privi- 
lege of  a  legislative  assembly  in  1619  under  the  commission  of 
Governor  Yeardley.  This,  the  first  legislative  assembly  in 
America,  met  at  Jamestown  July  30, 1619,  more  than  a  year 
before  the  sailing  of  the  Pilgrims.  It  was  composed  of  the 
governor  and  his  council  and  two  representatives,  chosen  from 
each  plantation,  making  twenty-two  burgesses.  The  place  of 
meeting  was  the  Episcopal  church  at  Jamestown.  This  build- 
ing, the  manner  in  which  the  assembly  was  constituted,  and 
its  personnel,  were  sketched  by  Mr.  Henry,  and  the  proceed- 
ings of  the  legislative  body  were  fully  given.  The  Virginia 
assembly  as  early  as  1623,  and  continuously  afterwards,  claimed 
the  sole  and  exclusive  right  to  tax  the  colony  and  boldly  took 
issue  with  parliament  in  1765,  on  the  passage  of  the  stamp  act, 
declaring  that,  as  it  imposed  the  tax  upon  the  colonies  without 
their  consent,  it  tended  to  destroy  British  as  well  as  American 
freedom.  This  brought  on  the  Eevolution,  which  established 
the  independence  of  the  United  States,  with  the  grand  results 
which  have  followed. 

Miss  Cora  Start,  of  Worcester,  Mass.,  read  a  valuable  mono- 
graph on  '-  [N'aturalization  in  the  English  colonies  of  America." 
Prof.  B.  A.  Hinsdale,  of  the  University  of  Michigan,  showed 


8  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

the  importance  of  the  "Thirty-first  paraUel  in  American  his- 
tory." At  the  Thursday  evening  and  closing  session  Prof. 
Simeon  E.  Baldwin,  of  Yale  University,  described  "  The  his- 
toric policy  of  the  United  States  as  to  annexation."  This  paper 
is  printed  in  full  in  the  Yale  Eeview,  August,  1893.  Prof.  J. 
Franklin  Jameson's  paper  on  the  "Origin  of  the  standing- 
committee  system  in  American  legislative  bodies"  was  read  in 
part  by  the  secretary. 

Prof.  F.  W.  Blackmar,  of  the  University  of  Kansas,  read 
an  interesting  sketch  of  the  "Annals  of  an  historic  town."  He 
showed  that,  by  the  passage  of  the  Douglass  bill.  Congress 
removed  the  battlefield  of  slavery  from  Congressional  halls 
to  the  plains  of  Kansas.  National  issues  were  referred  to  a 
local  community  for  final  settlement.  Lawrence  was  the  first 
Free-State  town  of  any  importance  and  it  became  the  center 
of  the  Free- State  movement  in  the  Territory  of  Kansas.  The 
municipal  life  of  Lawrence  is  instructive  as  illustrating  the 
development  of  free  Institutions.  The  town  was  settled  by 
Kew  Englanders,  sent  out  by  the  Massachusetts  Emigrant 
Aid  Society,  and  they  brought  with  them  New  England  insti- 
tutions. They  came  to  establish  religious  and  political  liberty 
in  Kansas,  and  in  this  respect  they  partook  of  the  spirit  of  the 
Puritans  and  Pilgrims  of  New  England.  But  they  sought 
the  freedom  of  others  as  well  as  their  own  improvement,  and 
were  not  obliged  to  leave  their  own  country  on  account  of 
oppression.  The  people  who  settled  Lawrence  were  not  abo- 
litionists, but  they  intended  to  make  Kansas  a  free  State 
according  to  the  legal  act  of  Congress.  They  respected  and 
obeyed  Federal  authority  and  desired  to  avoid  open  conflict. 
Their  steady,  persistent  determination  to  abide  by  Federal  law, 
and  at  the  same  time  to  oppose  false  local  legislation,  made 
Kansas  a  free  commonwealth. 


The  auditing  committee  appointed  by  President  Angell  on 
behalf  of  the  American  Historical  Association  congratulated 
that  body  upon  the  favorable  condition  of  its  finances.  The 
Association  now  owns  a  bond  and  mortgage  for  $5,000,  repre- 
senting accumulations  made  during  the  early  years  of  its 
history. 


PROCEEDINGS   AT  ANNUAL   MEETING.  9 

Mrs.  Walworth  called  the  attention  of  the  Association  to  the 
fact  that  the  year  1894  would  be  the  decennial  of  our  organi- 
zation  at  Saratoga  Springs,  September  10, 1884.  On  behalf  of 
the  citizens  of  Saratoga  she  cordially  invited  the  Association 
to  hold  its  next  meeting  there.  The  committee  on  the  time 
and  place  of  the  next  meeting  of  the  Association  reported  in 
favor  of  accepting  this  invitation. 

The  Association  passed  a  vote  of  thanks  to  Charles  C.  Bonney 
and  Dr.  W.  F.  Poole  for  courtesies  extended  to  the  historical 
congress.  Thanks  were  also  voted  to  Mr.  William  E.  Curtis  for 
his  invitation  to  visit  the  historical  collections  in  La  Eabida. 


10 


AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION 


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REPORT   OF   TREASURER.  11 

Chicago,  July  12, 189$. 

Messrs.  E.  W.  Blatchford  and  James  P.  Baxter  were  appointed  to  audit 
the  accounts  of  Mr.  Clarence  W.  Bowen,  treasurer  of  the  American  Histor- 
ical Association  from  January  1, 1892,  to  July  6,  1893. 

They  beg  to  report : 

They  find  statements  of  the  following  receipts : 

January  1,  1892,  balance  from  last  statement $42. 90 

Loan  made  by  secretary 1, 000. 00 

Interest  on  bond  and  mortgage  for  $5,0C0 600. 00 

From  sale  of  publications,  $105. 87  -\-  $10.78  +  $224.50  = 341. 15 

From  6  life  memberships,  at  $50  each ^ 300. 00 

From  625  annual  dues,  at  $3  each 1, 875. 00 

Total  receipts 4,059.05 

They  find  30  vouchers  for  expenditures  as  stated  (inclusive  of 

1,075,  being  the  loan  and  interest  paid)  of 4,  038. 10 

July  6,  1893,  cash  on  hand 20.95 


4,  059. 05 


The  statement  is  accompanied  by  a  certificate  of  John  A.  King, 
of  date  February  2,  1892,  of  the  possession  of  the  bond  and 
mortgage  for  $5,000,  at  5  per  cent 5,  000. 00 

Which,  with  above  statement  of  cash  on  hand  of 20. 95 

Makes  the  assets  of  the  American  Historical  Association  at  date, 

July  6, 1893 5,020.95 

Your  committee  would  express  to  the  Association  their  congratulation 
upon  the  favorable  condition  of  the  finances  of  your  society  at  this  date. 
The  bond  and  mortgage  for  $5,000  represents  accumulations  during  the 
very  early  years  of  its  history.  The  present  economical  arrangements  for 
publication  of  the  Association's  papers  will  increase  the  fund.  Special 
thanks  are  due  to  the  officers  of  the  Association,  whose  constant  and  effi- 
cient services  make  this  report  possible. 
Respectfully  submitted. 

E.  W.  Blatchford, 

Chairman. 


12  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 


LIST  OF  COMMITTEES,  1893-'94. 

1.  Auditing  committee:  E.  W.  Blatchford,  esq.,  James  Phmney  Baxter,  esq. 

2.  Finance:  Hon.  John  A.  King,  Robert  Schell,  esq.,  Dr.  C.  W.  Bowen. 

3.  Nominations:  Hon.  William  Wirt  Henry,  Dr.  WiUiam  F.  Poole. 

4.  Time  and  place  of  meeting :  Dr.  William  F.  Poole,  Mrs.  Ellen  H.  Wal- 

worth. 

5.  Programme:  Prof.  Justin  Winsor,  Prof.  A.  B.  Hart,  Prof.  F.  J.  Turner, 

Dr.  J.  L.  M.  Curry,  Prof.  H.  B.  Adams. 

6.  Besolutions :  Prof.  H.  B.  Adams,  Reuben  G.  Thwaites,  Dr.  C.  H.  Haskins. 


OFFICERS  FOR  1893-94. 

President:  Henry  Adams,  Washington,  D.  C. 

Vice-presidents:  Edward  G.  Mason,  president  of  the  Chicago  Historical 
Society;  Hon.  George  F.  Hoar,  Worcester,  Mass. 

Treasurer:  Clarence  Winthrop  Bowen,  ph.  d.,  130  Fulton  street,  New  York 
City. 

Secretary:  Herbert  B.  Adams,  ph.  d.,  ll.  d.,  professor  in  the  Johns  Hop- 
kins University,  Baltimore,  Md. 

Assistant  secretary  and  curator:  A.  Howard  Clark,  curator  of  the  histori- 
cal collections,  U.  S.  National  Museum,  Washington,  D.  C. 

Executive  council  (in  addition  to  the  above-named  ofiScers) :  Hon.  Andrew 
D.  White,  LL.  D.,  Ithaca,  N.  Y. ;  Justin  Winsor,  ll.  d.,  Cambridge, 
Mass. ;  Charles  Kendall  Adams,  ll.  d.,  president  of  University  of 
Wisconsin;  Hon.  William  Wirt  Henry,  Richmond,  Va.,  William  F. 
Poole,  LL.  D.,  librarian  of  the  Newberry  Library,  Chicago;  Hon. 
John  Jay,  ll.  d.,  New  York  City;  James  B.  AngeU,  ll.  d.,  president 
of  University  of  Michigan;  G.  Brown  Goode,  ph.  d.,  ll.  d.,  assistant 
secretary  Smithsonian  Institution,  in  charge  of  the  National  Museum ; 
John  George  Bourinot,  c.  m.  g.,  ll.  d,,  d.  c.  l.,  clerk  of  the  Cana- 
dian House  of  Commons;  J.  B.  McMaster,  professor  of  history  in  the 
University  of  Pennsylvania ;  George  B.  Adams,  professor  of  history 
in  Yale  University. 


II.-INADEQUATE  RECOGNITION  OF  DIPLOMATISTS  BY  HIS- 
TORIANS. 


INAUGURAL  ADDRESS  BY  DR.  JAMES  B.  ANGELL, 

PRESIDENT  OF  THE  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Read  at  the  Annual  Meeting,  July  11,  1893. 


13 


INAUGURAL  ADDRESS  OF  PRESIDENT  JAMES  B.  ANGELL,  LL.  D., 
JULY  11,  1893. 


THE  INADEQUATE  RECOGNITION  OP  DIPLOMATISTS  BY  HISTORIANS. 

The  scholars  of  our  time  have  often  congratulated  themselves 
that  historical  writers  have  in  these  later  years  been  giving  a 
wider  scope  to  their  work  than  the  older  historians  gave  to 
theirs.  These  later  writers,  in  describing  the  history  of  a  nation, 
have  not  confined  themselves  to  the  records  of  battles  and  of 
court  intrigues  and  of  royal  genealogies.  They  have  deemed  it 
proper  to  give  us  some  idea  of  the  progress  of  the  nation  in 
letters,  in  art,  in  science,  in  economic  development,  in  religion, 
in  all  that  makes  up  what  we  call  civilization.  They  have 
attempted  to  give  us  a  vivid  and  accurate  conception  of  the 
forces  and  the  j)rocesses  which  have  made  nations  what  they 
are.  And  they  have  had  in  mind  the  true  ideal  of  the  histo- 
rian's task. 

But  in  the  course  of  my  studies  I  have  been  led  to  the  con- 
viction that  most  of  the  general  historical  narratives  have  failed 
to  set  forth  with  sufficient  fullness  the  important  features  of 
great  diplomatic  transactions,  and  have  failed  even  more  sig- 
nally in  specific  recognition  of  the  signal  merits  of  many  of  the 
gifted  negotiators  of  epoch-making  treaties. 

The  work  of  international  congresses,  which  have  remade 
the  map  of  Europe  or  the  maps  of  other  continents,  which  have 
extinguished  the  life  of  proud  and  ancient  states  or  have 
created  new  states,  which  have  given  larger  freedom  to  com- 
merce and  wider  liberty  in  the  use  of  the  high  seas,  which 
have  mitigated  the  cruelties  of  war  and  have  swept  the  slave 
trade  from  the  ocean  j  this  work,  so  wide  and  far-reaching  in 
its  influence,  of  the  diplomatic  representatives  of  powerful 
states  has  been  often  passed  over  altogether  by  historians  of 
renown  or  dismissed  with  the  most  succinct  summary  which 
was  possible.  Even  where  the  results  of  negotiations  are 
given  it  is  rare  that  one  finds  any  fairly  complete  account  of 

15 


16  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

the  processes  by  which  these  results  were  reached.  May 
we  not  fairly  ask  whether  to  the  reader  of  ordinary  intelli- 
gence the  important  details  of  the  discussions  and  delibera- 
tions in  the  congress  at  MUnster  are  not  of  as  much  conse- 
quence as  the  details  of  any  battle  of  the  Thirty  Years'  War? 
Are  not  the  particulars  of  the  debates  between  Franklin 
and  Jay  and  John  Adams  on  the  one  side,  and  Oswald  and 
Strachey  and  Fitzherbert  on  the  other,  in  framing  our  treaty 
of  independence,  of  as  much  interest  and  consequence  as  the 
details  of  battle  the  of  Trenton? 

But  even  when  the  results  of  negotiations  are  given  with  some 
fullness  and  estimated  with  justice,  for  the  most  part  little  or 
none  of  the  credit  which  is  due  is  given  to  the  men  who  have 
brought  the  negotiations  to  a  successful  issue.  Generally  not 
even  their  names  are  mentioned.  The  consequence  is  that  no 
class  of  public  servants  of  equal  merit  is  so  inadequately  appre- 
ciated even  by  those  who  are  pretty  well  read  in  history.  Our 
very  school  children  are  so  taught  that  the  names  of  great 
generals,  Wallenstein  and  Tilley,  Marlborough  and  Prince 
Eugene,  Turenne  and  Conde,  Washington  and  Greene,  are 
familiar  to  them.  But  if  you  will  try  a  simple  experiment,  as 
I  have  done  several  times,  upon  persons  of  cultivation,  I  ven- 
ture the  guess  that  you  will  find  that  scholars  of  considerable 
familiarity  with  European  history  can  not  tell  and  can  not  say 
that  they  have  ever  known  who  were  the  principal  negotiators 
of  the  Peace  of  Westjjhalia,  or  of  treaties  of  such  historical 
importance  as  those  of  Kimeguen,  Eyswick,  Utrecht,  or  Paris 
of  1763,  or  Paris  of  1856.  And  the  reason  is  not  far  to  seek. 
It  is  because  most  of  the  general  histories  of  the  periods,  to 
which  those  treaties  belong,  have  little  or  nothing  to  say  of 
the  envoys,  who,  with  much  toil  and  discussion,  wrought  them 
out.  To  learn  the  names  of  those  neglected  men,  and  especially 
to  learn  anything  of  their  personality,  one  must  have  recourse 
to  special  diplomatic  histories  or  personal  memoirs,  when  such 
can  be  found. 

If  my  impression  of  the  treatment  which  important  diplo- 
matic work  has  received  in  most  of  our  general  histories  is 
correct,  I  think  we  shall  all  agree  that  they  are  seriously  defi- 
cient in  this  regard.  If  any  events  in  European  history  for 
the  last  two  centuries  and  a  half  have  been  of  vital  impor- 
tance, the  negotiation  of  some  of  the  treaties  I  have  named 
must  be  ranked  as  such.    When  we  recall  how  the  Peace  of 


INADEQUATE  RECOGNITION  OF  DIPLOMATISTS — ANGELL.    17 

Westphalia  weakened  the  German  Empire,  strengthened 
France,  adjusted  the  relations  of  the  three  great  branches  of 
the  church  in  Germany,  and  practically  established  the  mod- 
ern state  system  of  Europe  5  or  how  the  Treaty  of  Utrecht 
permanently  separated  the  crowns  of  France  and  Spain,  added 
to  England's  possessions  Newfoundland,  Hudson  Bay,  Aca- 
dia, St.  Kitts,  Gibraltar  and  Minorca,  and  fixed  the  Hanove- 
rian succession,  enlarged  the  power  of  Savoy  and  recognized 
the  King  of  Prussia;  how  the  Treaty  of  Paris  of  1763  gave 
Canada  and  the  Floridas  and  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi 
to  England,  and  how  the  Treaty  of  Paris  of  1856  abolished 
privateering  and  established  new  guarantees  to  neutral  trade 
upon  all  the  seas ;  who  shall  say  that  the  framing  of  these 
treaties  and  of  others,  hardly  less  important,  does  not  deserve 
ample  treatment,  and  that  the  talent  and  skill  of  the  men  who 
negotiated  them  does  not  deserve  generous  recognition  in  our 
more  important  general  histories  as  well  as  in  the  special 
diplomatic  histories? 

The  distinguished  publicist,  Pradier-Fod^r^,  has  well  said 
that  a  good  minister  is  sometimes  equal  to  an  army  of  a  hundred 
thousand  men.  Pyrrhus  is  credited  with  the  remark  that  his 
envoy,  Oyneas,  had  given  him  more  cities  than  any  of  his  gen- 
erals. John  Adams,  who  filled  so  many  high  offices  with  honor, 
was  apparently,  and  justly,  prouder  of  his  treaty  with  the  l!^ether- 
lands,  which  he  procured  in  the  face  of  well-nigh  insuperable 
obstacles,  than  of  almost  any  other  achievement  of  his  life. 
His  no  less  distinguished  son,  John  Quincy  Adams,  declared 
that  he  considered  his  signature  of  the  so-called  Florida  treaty 
with  Spain  in  1819  the  most  important  event  of  his  life 

It  may  be  said  in  answer  to  my  plea  for  the  ampler  recogni- 
tion of  the  services  of  great  diplomatists  that  they  only  register 
the  results  which  the  great  soldiers  have  really  secured,  and 
therefore  deserve  less  fame  than  the  generals.  To  this  two 
rejoinders  can  fairly  be  offered :  First,  while  war  may  decide 
that  one  nation  is  to  gather  the  larger  part  of  the  fruits  of  a 
negotiation  with  another,  it  does  not  decide  the  details  of  the 
settlement  to  be  made.  And  in  fixing  these,  in  determining 
with  large  foresight  the  consequences  of  particular  adjust- 
ments, in  felicity  of  statement,  in  cogency  of  discussion,  in 
knowledge  of  international  law,  in  weight  of  personality,  the 
representatives  of  the  conquered  nation  may,  and  often  do, 
win  back  much  of  what  seemed  to  have  been  wrested  away 
S.  Mis.  104 2 


18  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

by  the  victorious  sword  of  the  antagonist.  The  skillful  diplo- 
matists of  Louis  XIY  repeatedly  enhanced  the  value  of  his 
victories  and  diminished  the  losses  incurred  by  his  defeats. 
The  American  victory  at  Yorktown  determined  the  fact  that 
we  should  somehow  have  our  independence,  but  we  owe  it  to 
our  commissioners  at  Paris,  especially  to  Jay,  rather  than  to 
the  generals  in  command  of  our  armies,  that  Great  Britain 
was  constrained  to  treat  with  us  as  an  equal  and  independent 
nation,  that  we  did  not  accept  independence  as  a  grant  from 
the  mother  country,  that  our  treaty  was  a  treaty  of  partition, 
and  not  of  concession.  The  important  results  of  that  fact  are 
familiar  to  us  all.  By  no  means  is  the  work  of  the  negotiator 
done  by  the  military  commander. 

And,  secondly,  some  of  the  most  important  negotiations  are 
not  the  consequence  of  war,  are  not  preceded  by  war.  Bather 
they  serve  to  prevent  war.  Take  as  an  example  the  treaty  of 
Washington  of  1871,  popularly  known  as  the  Alabama  treaty. 
It  was  drawn  to  remove  the  dangerous  causes  of  dissension 
between  us  and  Great  Britain.  Few  events  in  our  national 
life  have  been  of  more  consequence  than  the  negotiation  and 
execution  of  that  treaty.  It  belongs  to  so  recent  a  date  that 
most  of  us  remember  distinctly  the  meeting  of  the  high  joint 
commissioners  who  framed  it.  Does  any  one  now  question  the 
supreme  importance  of  their  work?  And  yet  how  few  even  of 
the  well-informed  citizens  of  Great  Britain  or  of  the  United 
States  can  repeat  the  names,  I  will  not  say  of  all,  but  of  the 
most  prominent  members  of  that  commission.  Do  our  school 
children  find  them  given  in  any  of  the  manuals  of  United 
States  history  which  are  placed  in  their  hands  1 

It  is  then  far  from  true  that  the  value  of  the  services  of 
diplomatists  is  wholly  dependent  on  the  deeds  of  the  soldier. 
In  some  cases  it  is  not  true  that  they  are  at  all  determined  by 
military  achievements.  There  is  no  good  reason  why  the  his- 
torian should  with  emphasis  dwell  on  the  skill  of  generals,  and 
be  silent  concerning  the  genius  and  the  work  of  great  masters 
of  the  diplomatic  art. 

Let  us  now  notice  briefly  what  we  do  find  in  some  of  our 
histories  concerning  a  few  important  treaties  and  the  men  who 
drew  them.  Take  the  great  treaties  negotiated  at  Munster 
and  Osnabriick,  to  which  as  a  whole  the  name  of  The  Peace  of 
Westphalia  is  generally  given.  All  will  agree  that  it  is  one  of 
the  most  important  events  in  the  history  of  modern  Europe.    Of 


INADEQUATE  RECOGNITION  OF  DIPLOMATISTS — ANGELL.    19 

course  no  liistory  of  the  great  continental  states  in  the  seven- 
teenth century  can  altogether  omit  reference  to  it.  But  if  we 
turn  to  Dyer's  Modern  Europe,  or  EusselPs  Modern  Europe,  or 
Crowe's  France,  or  among  German  works  to  Kohlrausch's 
History  of  Germany  or  to  MenzePs,  the  subject  is  touched  very 
lightly  or  not  at  all,  and  nothing  can  be  learned  from  them 
about  the  negotiations.  Coxe's  House  of  Austria,  which  gives 
a  good  succinct  summary  of  the  treaties,  is  silent  about  the  men 
who  made  them.  One  might  suppose  that  Gindely's  Thirty 
Years'  War  would  at  least  have  had  a  closing  chapter  on  the 
treaties.  But  it  has  not  a  word,  though  the  American  trans- 
lator has  added  a  chapter  in  which  some  attention  is  given  to 
the  subject.  And  apparently  the  call  upon  the  author  by 
readers,  who  were  surprised  at  his  omission,  led  him  to  publish 
a  little  supplemental  brochure  to  supply  it.  Martin,  the  French 
historian,  treats  the  subject,  as  he  does  other  negotiations, 
with  considerable  fullness,  and  gives  his  readers  an  idea  of 
who  the  negotiators  were. 

But  if  one  would  learn  much  of  the  details  of  the  transac- 
tions or  of  the  traits  even  of  the  leading  negotiators,  one  must 
turn  to  such  special  histories  as  Bougeaut's  Histoire  des 
Guerres  et  des  ^^gociations  qui  precederent  le  Traite  de  West- 
phalie,  and  Le  Clerc's  N^gociations  Secretes,  or  Garden's  His- 
toire des  Traites  de  Paix.  He  could  there  find  that  France 
was  represented  by  the  Count  d'Avaux,  who  had,  on  an 
embassy  to  Venice,  settled  a  difficult  question  about  Mantua, 
that  he  had  secured  a  truce  between  Poland  and  Sweden,  that 
he  had  negotiated  a  treaty  at  Hamburg,  which  prepared  the 
way  for  the  Peace  of  Westphal  a,  and  that  he  was  a  man  of  large 
skill  and  experience  j  also  by  Servien,  the  Count  de  la  Eoche 
des  Aubiers,  who  had  been  secretary  of  state  under  Eichelieu, 
had  seen  diplomatic  service,  and  had  by  his  brilliancy  be- 
came a  favorite  of  Mazarinj  and  finally  by  the  renowned  Due 
de  Longueville.  He  could  see  that  Sweden  had  sent  to  the 
congress  the  son  of  the  great  chancellor  Oxenstiern,  a  man  of 
large  learning  and  capacity,  and  Salvius,  who  had  won  the 
favor  of  his  Queen  Christina.  He  would  learn  that  the  empire 
had  in  Dr.  Yolmar  and  Count  Trautsmandorf  envoys  who 
were  in  ability  and  good  sense  peers  of  any  in  that  great 
assembly,  and  that  Yenice  was  represented  by  Contarini,  who 
had  rendered  conspicuous  public  services  at  the  principal 
courts  of  Europe,  and  that  tlie  mediator  sent  by  the  Pope  was 


20  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Eabio  Chigi,  afterwards  raised  to  the  Holy  See  by  the  title  of 
Alexander  YII,  and  that  he  was  one  of  the  shrewdest  and 
most  experienced  diplomatists  present.  Not  to  mention  any 
of  the  one  hundred  and  forty  others  whose  names  are  given  by 
Garden,  surely  these  dominant  men,  who  shaped  the  great 
settlement  from  which  in  an  emphatic  sense  what  we  call 
modern  Europe  may  be  said  to  date  its  life,  might  well  have 
their  names  recalled  and  their  work  recognized  as  theirs  by 
any  historian  of  the  seventeenth  century. 

If  we  pause  to  notice  the  three  principal  treaties  of  the  reign 
of  Louis  XIY,  those  of  "N^imeguen,  Eyswick,  and  Utrecht,  we 
shall  find  a  very  slight  treatment  of  them  in  several  histories 
of  repute.  From  Dyer  and  Eussell  and  Crowe  the  reader  will 
learn  little  or  nothing.  Green's  larger  work  on  England  has 
the  briefest  possible  notice  of  these  treaties.  Even  Philipson 
in  his  volume  on  the  Age  of  Louis  XIY,  forming  a  part  of 
Oncken's  great  Historical  Series,  while  giving  the  results  of 
the  treaties,  says  hardly  anything  of  the  men  who  negotiated 
them.  Martin  gives  some  of  the  names,  but  not  all  j  and  does 
not  dwell  on  the  merits  of  the  men  he  does  name.  Lecky  says 
he  omits  any  detailed  account  of  the  treaty  of  Utrecht  because 
it  is  fully  described  elsewhere,  as,  in  fact,  it  is  in  Stanhope's 
Queen  Anne.  Hume  is  reasonably  full  on  the  negotiations  at 
Mmeguen,  Macaulay  on  Eyswick,  and  Capefigue  on  both.  In 
general  the  French  historians  as  a  class  have  given  more 
attention  to  diplomatic  history  than  either  the  Germans  or  the 
English. 

When  we  remember  that  in  the  making  of  th  e  treaties  re- 
ferred to  such  men  as  Colbert-Croiss6,  Cailleres,  De  Harlay  and 
Polignac  of  France,  and  Sir  William  Temple  and  Hyde  and 
Sir  Leoline  Jenkins  of  England,  and  Yan  Bevening  of  the 
Netherlands  were  engaged,  may  we  not  fairly  ask  whether 
some  special  attention  might  not  have  been  given  to  them  by 
the  historians  of  their  period  ? 

With  the  single  exception  of  the  great  treaty  of  Yienna  of 
1815,  we  shall  find  the  case  much  the  same  in  more  recent 
European  history.  The  names  of  any  of  the  negotiators  of 
the  treaty  of  Paris  of  1856,  which  summed  up  the  results  of  the 
Crimean  war  and  introduced  perhaps  the  most  important 
changes  in  maritime  affairs  ever  made  by  a  single  treaty,  are 
not  so  much  as  mentioned  in  Justin  McCarthy's  interesting 
History  of  our  Time. 


INADEQUATE  RECOGNITION  OF  DIPLOMATISTS — ANGELL.    21 

It  is  but  just  to  say  that  the  American  historians,  especially 
Hildreth  and  Bancroft,  have  set  a  better  example  in  writing 
of  the  treaties  made  by  the  United  States  in  the  period  cov- 
ered by  their  works.  But  the  authors  of  our  school  manuals 
of  American  history  give  the  children  little  or  no  information 
concerning  the  diplomatic  labors  of  the  men  who,  by  their 
skill,  helped  win  in  Europe  those  victories  in  the  council 
chamber  which  were  as  influential  in  securing  our  independ- 
ence as  the  battles  of  Saratoga  and  Yorktown. 

If  we  can  not  justify  the  neglect  of  many  historians  to  treat 
with  sufficient  fullness  the  work  of  diplomatists,  we  can  per- 
ceive some  of  the  causes  of  that  neglect.  That  work  does  not 
appeal  to  the  imagination  and  excite  the  passions  of  men  like 
the  battles  of  the  warrior.  The  processes  by  which  it  is  accom- 
plished are  often,  perhaps  generally,  guarded  by  governments 
with  more  or  less  secrecy.  Even  when  the  French  and  Spanish 
ambassadors  used  to  make  their  entry  into  a  capital  with  great 
display,  their  discussions  in  a  congress  and  their  dispatches 
were  not  given  to  the  public.  Flassan  (I,  37)  well  says  "the 
lot  of  negotiators  is  less  favorable  for  celebrity  than  that  of 
generals.  Their  works  are  often  buried;  if  recent,  they  can 
not  be  made  public;  if  they  have  become  a  little  old,  they  lack 
interest,  unless  the  pen  which  has  traced  them  has  such  a 
superior  style  that  we  can  regard  them  as  models  of  logic  and 
of  human  wisdom." 

But  if  the  reader  is  more  dazzled  by  the  description  of  bat- 
tles than  of  even  the  most  imi)ortant  negotiations,  is  it  not  the 
duty  of  the  historian  to  correct  his  bad  taste  or  to  disregard 
it  by  setting  forth  in  due  proportions  what  is  really  important, 
and  by  giving  to  great  negotiators  the  credit  which  is  really 
their  due  for  promoting  the  interests  of  their  country  and  of 
humanity? 

While  general  histories  should  give  more  attention  to  the 
important  features  in  diplomatic  work,  it  seems  desirable  that 
the  diplomatic  history  of  each  nation  should  be  written  by 
some  one  of  its  own  citizens.  It  is  due  to  each  nation  that  its 
diplomatic  relations  be  set  forth  in  such  a  special  work  in  more 
detail  than  the  general  historian  can  properly  resort  to  in  his^ 
narrative.  The  custodians  of  the  archives  can  give  more  lib- 
erty to  one  of  their  fellow-citizens  in  examining  papers  than 
they  sometimes  are  free  to  grant  to  foreigners.    But  more  lib- 


22  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

erality  in  the  use  of  documents,  and  at  the  same  time  more  care 
in  preserving  them,  may  well  be  exercised  by  governments. 

So  impartial  an  editor  as  De  Martens  complains  in  the  pref- 
ace to  his  Nouveau  Eecueil  de  Traites  that  he  has  been  unable 
to  procure  many  important  documents  which  he  needed, 
because  they  had  not  been  published  or  because  govern- 
ments were  unwilling  to  communicate  them  to  him. 

In  some  countries,  notably  in  England,  a  large  part  of  the 
most  valuable  material  for  diplomatic  history  is  carried  off  by 
the  foreign  secretaries  as  they  leave  ofl&ce.  This  material  con- 
sists of  the  confidential  letters  from  the  ministers  who  are 
representing  the  country  abroad.  These  letters  are  regarded 
in  Great  Britain  as  the  private  property  of  the  foreign  secre- 
tary. They  contain  often  more  valuable  information  than  the 
formal  dispatches.  Being  carried  away,  they  are  sometimes 
lost.  Sometimes  they  appear  in  the  publication  of  family 
papers  of  the  secretaries,  divorced  from  the  documents  which 
should  explain  or  modify  them.  It  may  be  a  question  whether 
in  that  country  and  in  ours  some  provision  should  not  be  made 
for  preserving  in  the  archives  even  these  personal  letters  to  the 
secretaries,  or  such  parts  of  them  as  concern  public  business, 
so  that  the  Government  may  have  all  the  facts  within  reach 
and  may  permit  them  to  be  used  by  the  historian  when  the 
proper  time  comes  for  a  full  diplomatic  history. 

Several  nations  have  published  or  have  permitted  the  pub- 
lication of  their  treaties.  In  addition  to  Barbeyrac's  Collec- 
tion of  Ancient  Treaties,  and  the  vast  Corps  Diplomatique 
Universel  of  Dumont,  we  have  the  Acta  Foedera  Publica  of 
Eymer,  the  Eegesta  Diplomatica  of  Georgisch,  the  Codex 
ItalisB  Diplomaticus  of  Lunig,  the  collections  of  Abreu  for 
Spain,  the  Codex  Diplomaticus  of  Leibnitz,  the  great  Eecueils 
of  Modern  Treaties  by  Dr.  Martens  and  his  successors,  the 
British  Treaties  of  Hertslet,  the  Collection  of  the  United 
States,  the  South  American  Treaties,  edited  by  Calvo,  and 
other  collections.  We  have  also  Koch  and  Schoell's  History 
of  Treaties.  But  of  diplomatic  histories,  which  give  us  full 
accounts  of  the  origin  and  details  and  results  of  negotiations, 
and  make  known  to  us  the  personality  and  the  influence  and 
merits  of  the  men  who  conducted  them,  and  enable  us  to 
understand  the  living  forces  which  accomplished  the  results 
attained,  of  these  we  have  but  few.    The  French,  with  the 


INADEQUATE  RECOGNITION  OF  DIPLOMATISTS — ANGELL.   23 

renowned  works  of  Flassan  and  Garden  and  Lefebvre,  have 
outstripped  all  otlier  nations. 

Flassan,  in  speaking  of  sucli  works  as  the  Histoire  des  Trait^s 
by  St.  Preuxj  Mably's  Du  Public  de  PEurope,  and  Koch's  Abreg^ 
des  Traites,  well  says:  ^^In  speaking  of  events  they  have  said 
nothing  of  persons,  although  these  lend  great  interest  to  a  dip- 
lomatic work.  It  is  not  sufficient  to  give  the  principal  articles  of 
a  treaty  of  peace  and  to  add  a  sketch  of  the  events  which  have 
preceded  it.  One  should  as  far  as  possible  make  us  acquainted 
with  the  negotiator,  indicate  the  forces  brought  into  play  on 
either  side,  the  principal  debates  in  the  conferences,  the  ob- 
stacles overcome,  and  sum  up  in  impartial  conclusions  the 
results  of  the  treaty  or  of  the  action  of  the  cabinet  which  they 
are  discussing." 

Mr.  Trescot  in  his  two  little  volumes  on  the  earlier  chapters 
in  our  diplomatic  history  j  Mr.  Lyman  in  his  more  extensive 
work;  Mr.  Schuyler  in  his  monograph  on  certain  chapters  in 
our  history;  the  former  president  of  the  American  Historical 
Association,  Mr.  John  Jay,  in  his  chapter  in  Winsor^s  His- 
tory on  the  Negotiation  qf  the  Treaty  of  Independence,  and 
Mr.  Henry  Adams  in  his  Administrations  of  Jefferson  and 
Madison,  have  well  supplemented  Hildreth  and  Bancroft,  and 
Mr.  Ehodes  in  his  recent  work  has  given  long-neglected  recog- 
nition to  the  services  of  Secretary  Marcy.  But  a  full  and  con- 
nected history  of  American  diplomacy,  in  the  light  of  present 
knowledge,  is  still  a  desideratum. 

It  has  seemed  to  me  eminently  appropriate  to  discuss  this 
theme  now  in  this  age  of  arbitration,  and  here  where  the 
world  is  holding  its  great  industrial  congress  of  peace.  It  is 
meet  that  we  should  emphasize  the  importance  of  pacific  nego- 
tiations as  the  desirable  method  of  settling  international  dif- 
ficulties by  giving  the  deserved  place  to  the  histories  of  diplo- 
matic labors  and  by  asking  that  historians  should  place  on  the 
heads  of  great  diplomatists  the  laurels  which  they  merit,  and 
of  which  they  have  too  long  been  robbed,  and  should  give 
them  as  honorable  a  position  upon  their  pages  as  they  assign 
to  great  admirals  and  great  captains.  Let  history  do  what  she 
can  to  perpetuate  the  fraternal  relations  of  nations  by  glorify- 
ing the  council  chamber  and  the  arbitrator  at  least  as  much  as 
the  field  of  battle  and  the  warrior. 


$ 

24  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

OPENINa   OF  THE  HISTORICAL   CONGRESS. 

It  is  with  peculiar  pleasure  that  we  assemble  here  to-day  to 
take  part  in  this  historical  congress.  Some  of  us  make  no 
higher  claim  than  to  be  regarded  as  earnest  and  sincere  stu- 
dents of  history.  We  are  fortunate  in  being  honored  with  the 
presence  of  others,  whose  contributions  to  historical  research 
and  literature  are  honored  throughout  the  world.  We  Ameri- 
cans are  very  grateful  for  the  opportunity  of  meeting  and 
hearing  some  distinguished  visitors  from  other  lands  whose 
writings  we  have  long  held  in  the  highest  esteem.  We  should 
have  been  glad  to  see  more  of  them.  If  there  is  any  study 
which  makes  men  catholic  and  cosmopolitan,  it  is  the  study 
of  history.  If  there  is  any  pursuit  which  lifts  us  above  the 
narrow  prejudices  and  conceits  of  provincialism  and  helps  us 
to  understand  man  in  his  essential  characteristics,  it  is  that  of 
the  historical  scholar  whose  vision  sweeps  over  the  whole 
career  of  the  race  and  whose  inductions  are  made  from  facts 
as  broad  as  the  life  of  the  race.  In  this  large  and  hospitable 
spirit,  worthy  of  this  great  concourse  of  nations,  we  assemble 
here  to- day  and  take  up  our  work. 


III.~THE  VALUE  OF  NATIONAL  ARCHIVES. 


By  MRS.  ELLEN  HARDIN  WALWORTH 

OF  SAEATOGA,  N.  Y. 


25 


THE  VALUE  OF  NATIONAL  ARCHIVES. 


By  Ellen  Hardin  Walworth. 


"To  know  the  old  era  you  must  searcli  with  a  lantern;  to  know  the  new 
era  you  must  winnow." 

Archives  hold  the  evidence  of  facts;  what  the  Bible  is  to  the 
theologian  and  what  the  statute  law  is  to  the  lawyer  the  state 
archive  is  to  the  historian.  We  have  a  history  like  the  com- 
mon law,  which  consists  of  facts  known  by  tradition  and  long 
established  usage,  if  we  may  apply  such  a  term  to  historical 
data.  These  long-standing  traditions  can  not  be  ignored,  nor 
even  be  treated  lightly.  Many  of  them  stand  on  the  same  basis 
as  the  common  law,  which  began  in  tradition  and  finally  found 
its  way  to  the  statute  books. 

There  are  unwritten  archives  which  may  be  consulted  by  the 
historian.  These  are  found  i  n  the  rude  and  imperfect  monu- 
ments with  which  the  people  of  a  nation  have  from  time  to  time 
endeavored  to  perpetuate  the  memory  of  events  and  of  persons ; 
and  there  are  unwritten  archives  to  be  found  in  the  customs 
and  habits  of  the  people  who  are  the  subjects  of  study.  These 
sources  of  investigation  with  the  well-known  historical  bibli- 
ography of  each  nation  and  age  are  the  open  fields  in  which 
the  historian  wanders  at  will,  gathering  such  facts  and  nar- 
rative as  suits  his  need  or  his  taste.  Here  the  superficial  student 
may  spend  a  life- time  gathering  material  and  drawing  conclu- 
sions. In  biography  and  local  history  val  uable  work  may  be  done 
in  these  open  fields ;  but  when  the  earnest  student  or  writer  gives 
his  attention  to  public  affairs  and  individuals  as  connected 
with  governments  and  nations  he  must  authenticate  his  facts 
with  greater  care,  and  seek  the  official  evidence  that  will  prove 
his  statements.  To  accomplish  this  he  turns  with  confidence 
and  hope  to  the  archives  of  the  nation  whose  history  he  would 
investigate  or  bring  forth.    If  it  is  in  the  old  era  that  he  would 

27 


28  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

seek  knowledge  he  takes  his  lantern  and  explores  the  musty 
volumes  and  difficult  manuscripts  before  him,  and  he  turns 
over  the  unclassified  mass  of  documents  in  search  of  the  para- 
graph or  sentence  that  may  throw  light  on  his  fact  or  supposi- 
tion. These  failing  him,  he  gropes  his  way  in  other  directions, 
still  searching  for  a  clue  to  the  few  words  that  will  verify  his 
statement  or  lead  to  other  discoveries.  These  documents,  still 
inspiring  confidence  because  they  have  the  sanction  of  the 
Government,  the  instinct  of  the  hunter  or  the  miner  is  aroused 
in  the  historian,  and  he  pursues  his  game  as  eagerly  as  if  the 
wily  pheasant  or  the  golden  nugget  would  be  the  reward  of 
his  pursuit. 

If  it  is  of  the  new  era  that  he  would  gain  information  he 
will  find  thousands  of  documents  printed  by  the  Government, 
from  which  he  must  winnow  and  select  the  precious  sentence 
that  may  authenticate  his  gleanings  in  the  open  field.  In 
either  case  his  reference  from  the  national  archive  is  a  guar- 
anty, at  least,  of  the  faithfulness  of  his  work,  and,  while  these 
archives  are  by  no  means  infallible,  they  are  made  up  of  that 
cumulative  testimony  that  counts  for  evidence  in  human  affairs. 

Thus  it  is  that  the  archives  of  each  government  are  a  great 
storehouse  from  which  the  facts  of  history  are  authenticated 
even  when  not  drawn  directly  from  them.  If,  as  Mr.  Schouler 
has  recently  said,  "The  grand  results  and  the  grand  lessons 
of  human  life  are  ours  in  retrospect,  and  in  retrospect  alone," 
then  must  we  look  with  reverential  and  anxious  eyes  toward 
these  repositories  of  the  records  which  make  retrospection 
possible. 

We,  in  this  country,  are  fortunate  in  inheriting  the  English 
characteristic  that  sets  a  value  on  all  official  and  family  rec- 
ords. Perhaps  no  nation  has  been  more  careful  than  England 
in  the  preservation  of  her  archives,  and  perhaps  no  nation  has 
been  more  careless  in  this  direction  than  the  United  States  5 
yet  I  reaffirm  my  statement  that  we  do  inherit  the  English 
pride  of  country  and  ancestry  which  is  possibly  the  impelling 
motive  in  an  unusual  care  for  Government  and  family  statis- 
tics. We  have  been  careless  because  life  with  us  in  the  past 
was  too  experimental  and  too  intense  to  admit  of  very  definite 
record  and  painstaking  protection  of  such  rapid  records  as 
were  made.  Like,  children,  too,  we  had  not  learned  the  rela- 
tive value  of  the  things  not  purchasable,  as  compared  with 
money  and  the  things  that  money  will  buy  5  a  natural  mistake 


THE  VALUE  OF  NATIONAL  ARCHIVES — WALWORTH.      29 

for  a  people  suddenly  emerging  from  the  stress  of  poverty  and 
war,  as  in  the  Eevolution,  into  the  possession  of  great  and 
unexpected  fortunes  as  followed  in  the  succeeding  years. 
Questions  vital  to  the  life  of  the  nation  involved  in  the  war  of 
1812,  and  in  the  late  war,  have  agitated  even  the  most  quiet 
students  of  the  land.  Questions  of  policy  and  finance  involv- 
ing the  Louisiana  x^nrchase,  with  control  of  the  mouth  of  the 
Mississippi  Eiver,  and  the  war  with  Mexico,  bringing  its  grand 
acquisition  of  territory,  have  stirred  the  whole  people  to  a 
degree  that  allowed  little  time  to  consider  the  history  they 
were  making  from  month  to  month  and  year  to  year. 

The  form  of  our  Government,  too,  has  been  detrimental  to  an 
early  collection  of  historical  records  j  the  separate  States  have 
had  a  desire  to  retain  all  records  relating  to  each  one  within 
its  own  borders,  even  while  they  were  all  more  or  less  careless 
of  the  safety  of  the  most  important  documents.  The  beginnings 
of  the  Government  being  located  in  the  various  colonies,  the  his- 
tory of  that  early  period  is  to  be  sought  in  many  places.  The 
result  is  that  partial  and  incomplete  histories  of  the  establish- 
ment of  the  country  have  prevailed,  and  some  colonies,  as 
Kew  York,  have  had  scant  justice  in  the  histories  of  the 
nation.  It  may  be  said  with  some  fairness  that  these  colonies 
and  states  are  in  a  measure  at  fault,  as  they  have  not  furnished 
the  material  nor  the  encouragement  to  historians  that  would 
stimulate  them  to  overcome  the  difficulties  to  be  encountered. 
A  thought  of  these  difficulties  leads  us  back  to  the  general 
subject  of  archives. 

The  earliest  literary  effusions  of  the  Anglo-Saxons,  even 
while  metrical  in  form,  were  historical  in  matter,  and  among 
their  first  efforts  in  prose  was  the  Saxon  Chronicle.  This,  like 
our  own  early  history,  was  made  piecemeal  in  the  various 
counties  and  convents.  In  the  reign  of  King  Alfred,the  Primate 
Plegmund  appears  to  have  conducted  an  official  collection  of 
the  different  parts.  The  frequency  with  which  the  Saxon 
Chronicle  is  quoted  by  historians  proves  its  value.  In  the  old 
era  the  professions  of  law  and  theology  established  official 
records  of  inestimable  value.  The  ecclesiastical  claim  to  make 
a  record  for  every  Christian  of  his  baptism,  marriage  and  death; 
to  try  him  for  crimes  and  misdemeanors,  and  to  protect 
him  from  both  private  and  judicial  vengeance  was  a  means  of 
preserving  the  history  of  individuals  and  communities,  for  the 
noted  events  of  the  Government  were  also  celebrated  and 


30  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

recorded  in  the  cliurches.  As  the  courts  of  law  gradually 
developed,  they  took  the  people  and  the  government,  of  which 
they  formed  a  part,  under  their  supervision  j  thus  the  records 
passed  slowly  from  the  churches  and  convents  into  a  final 
independence  of  them.  The  decrees  of  the  kings,  like  that 
creating  the  Domesday  Book,  from  time  to  time  established  a 
special  collection  and  preservation  of  archives.  By  the  con- 
servation  of  family  records  they  have  in  many  cases  become 
official  archives.  In  England  they  grew  into  great  importance 
through  the  "Visitation"  as  it  was  called  of  the  King-at-arms, 
begun  possibly  in  the  reign  of  Henry  Till  and  intended  at  first 
only  to  decide  the  disputed  question  as  to  which  families  were 
entitled  to  bear  a  coat  Of  arms. 

In  the  preservation  of  her  archives  and  an  appreciation  of 
their  value  England  has  a  rival  in  Spain.  There  the  details  of 
every  transaction,  of  the  past  seems  to  be  cherished  with  a 
reverential  spirit.  Our  own  historians  have  availed  themselves 
of  the  almost  unhmited  treasures  preserved  by  the  Spanish  Gov- 
ernment. There  is  little  need  to  speak  of  the  debt  we  owe  to 
Spain  in  the  department  of  history  at  this  time  and  in  this 
place,  where  on  every  side  there  are  evidences  of  her  care  for 
her  archives,  and  her  generosity  in  lending  them.  Yet  I  can 
not  refrain  from  mentioning  a  striking  illustration  of  the  full- 
ness and  accuracy  of  these  records,  and  the  facility  with  which 
they  can  become  available.  The  old  Spanish  fort  at  St.  Augus- 
tine, Fla.,  is,  I  believe,  the  only  work  of  its  peculiar  kind  on 
this  continent.  One  of  a  similar  interest,  and  closely  resem- 
bling it  was  a  few  years  ago  among  the  historical  relics  of  New 
Orleans;  our  Government  allowed  it  to  be  sold  and  converted 
into  a  beer  garden,  losing  every  trace  of  its  ancient  dignity.  A 
retired  army  officer,  visiting  St.  Augustine,  heard  that  the 
picturesque  Fort  Marion  there  was  in  imminent  danger  of  like 
degradation.  He  appealed  successfully  to  the  engineer  on 
inspection  duty,  and  induced  him  to  recommend  the  renovation 
of  the  old  fort  instead  of  its  destruction.  The  proposition  was 
accepted  by  our  Government,  and  the  officer  who  was  to  super- 
vise the  work  was  authorized  to  write  to  the  Spanish  Govern- 
ment and  ask  for  any  information  they  could  furnish  in  regard 
to  the  original  plans  of  the  fort,  now  so  dilapidated  as  to  be 
difficult  of  restoration.  To  the  astonished  gratification  of  the 
officer  he  received,  in  a  very  short  time,  a  full  case  of  the  origi- 
nal plans  and  drr^wings  of  the  fort  and  the  surrounding  country, 


THE  VALUE  OF  NATIONAL  ARCHIVES — WALWORTH.      31 

with  a  complete  account  of  the  expense  of  building,  the  num- 
ber of  men  employed  for  the  work,  the  provision  for  them,  etc., 
and  all  this  after  an  interval  of  about  three  hundred  years. 

In  contrast  to  this  may  be  mentioned  the  loss,  so  far  as  I 
know,  of  all  record  of  the  plans  and  drawings  of  Kosciusko 
for  the  fortified  camp  at  Saratoga  in  the  Burgoyne  campaign 
in  1777,  little  more  than  one  hundred  years  ago.  There  are 
many  maps  and  drawings  of  the  British  engineers  of  the 
opposing  camp.  From  these  British  records  and  remains  of 
the  American  defenses  and  reports  of  officers,  the  American 
works  have  been  located  and  tablets  erected  to  mark  them. 
Had  the  patriotic  work  been  deferred,  even  to  the  present  time, 
all  indication  of  military  occupation  would  have  been  obliter- 
ated. Thus  are  we  indebted  to  other  nations  for  the  preserva- 
tion of  our  own  historical  relics  and  records. 

France  has  been  generous  and  painstaking  in  the  preserva- 
tion of  her  archives,  but  they  have  suffered  many  vicissitudes 
in  the  fluctuations  of  her  government,  and  it  has  been  said 
that  her  historians  copy  and  quote  from  them  with  a  free 
hand  5  that  they  have  not  the  same  regard  for  accuracy  and 
the  disregard  for  a  revelation  of  disagreeable  facts  that  dis- 
tinguishes the  Englishman. 

The  Italians  have,  in  the  Vatican,  still  an  unexplored  wealth 
of  historical  treasure  that  will  continue  to  unfold  for  ages  its 
hidden  narratives,  some  of  them,  perhaps,  as  remarkable  as 
the  discovery  of  the  Cicero  de  Eepublica.  You  remember  how 
Cardinal  Mali  picked  up  an  old  manuscript  in  the  Vatican 
written  in  a  clear  bold  handj  reading  it  he  was  impressed  only 
with  the  indifferent  style  and  foily  of  the  writer,  but  as  he  read 
he  observed  some  strange  characters  of  a  different  kind  from 
this  bold  writing  J  he  traced  this  hidden  lettering  into  words 
that  made  a  quotation  from  Cicero  used  by  an  old  writer  5  his 
curiosity  still  further  excited,  he  pursued  his  investigation 
which  resulted  in  the  discovery  of  the  long  lost  literary  treasure, 
the  Cicero  de  Eepublica  5  by  the  application  of  chemicals  the 
later  writing  was  obliterated  and  the  ancient  one  restored. 

The  Government  of  the  United  States,  with  all  the  excuses 
which  have  been  presented,  still  appears  to  have  been  culpa 
bly  negligent  in  the  collection  and  preservation  of  the  national 
archives. 

That  the  Saxon  instinct  to  hold  on  to  all  that  is  of  value  in 
the  past,  for  utility  if  not  for  veneration,  is  strong  within  us 


32  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

is  proved  by  the  quick  awakening  of  the  country  to  the  mem- 
ories of  this  historic  year,  and  to  the  appeals  of  various  asso- 
ciations having  in  view  the  restoration  of  historical  records, 
and  the  veneration  of  ancestors.  The  people  are  always  in 
advance  of  their  legislators;  these  last  are  held  back  by  mo- 
tives of  policy,  but  the  people  strike  out  for  what  they  want, 
and  in  time  they  bring  their  legislators  to  their  way  of  thinking. 

Would  not  the  vote  of  the  people  on  any  day  decide  that 
the  few  thousand  dollars  necessary  to  print  the  Eevolutionary 
papers  now  lying,  in  their  single  original  copies,  in  the  State 
Department,  should  be  expended  promptly  and  generously  for 
that  purpose? 

On  the  tables  of  the  State  Department  in  Washington  I 
have  had  piled  up  before  me,  for  reference,  dozens  of  these 
precious  volumes  of  manuscript,  many  of  them  torn  and  worn; 
and  as  I  handled  them  gently,  thankful  indeed  for  the  privi- 
lege accorded  me  by  the  officials  in  charge,  I  was  almost  moved 
to  tears  in  the  thought  that  by  a  single  accident  the  nation 
might  be  stripped  of  these  treasures  of  the  past. 

Such  valuable  papers  are  not  only  on  the  shelves  of  the 
public  Departments;  they  are  scattered  all  over  the  country. 
Would  not  a  vote  of  the  people,  if  taken  to-day,  be  in  favor  of 
the  appointment  of  officers  of  the  Government  whose  duty  it 
should  be  to  collect  and  preserve  these  documents? 

Would  it  not  be  well  that  we,  who  are  gathered  here  in  the 
interest  of  historical  research,  should  make  our  opinion  and 
desire  heard  concerning  the  Eevolutionary  records,  by  means 
of  a  strong  resolution  addressed  to  the  Congress  soon  to  con- 
vene; this  resolution  to  embody  a  petition  for  the  collection 
and  preservation  of  the  Eevolutionary  and  other  national 
archives? 


IV -AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  NOMENCLATURE. 


By  AINSWORTH    R.    SPOFFORD, 

LIBRARIAN  OF  CONGRESS. 


S.  Mis.  104 3  33 


AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  NOMENCLATURE. 


By  AiNSWORTH  R.  Spofford. 


The  names  of  places  may  be  said  to  present  a  subject  of 
historical  and  world-wide  interest.  Local  nomenclature,  while 
more  immediately  related  to  geography,  is  also  intimately  and 
indissolubly  connected  with  history. 

Although  it  is  not  true,  as  sometimes  asserted,  that  the 
whole  history  of  a  country^s  settlement  and  growth  can  be  con- 
structed from  its  map,  still  the  progress  of  different  immigra- 
tions, as  traced  in  the  peculiarities  or  the  language  of  the  ap- 
pellations bestowed  upon  new  places,  forms  a  constant  subject 
for  the  historian.  The  States  of  our  Union  are  written  all  over 
with  names  which  reveal  the  composite  character  of  our  pop- 
ulation. At  the  same  time,  the  most  notable  and  most  deplor- 
able feature  in  the  naming  of  places  is  the  endless  reduplica- 
tion of  the  most  common-place  names  without  regard  to 
euphony  or  appropriateness. 

In  this  commemorative  year  of  America's  greatest  discov- 
erer, I  have  thought  it  not  inopportune  to  ask  the  attention  of 
this  association  first,  to  the  errors  already  widely  committed  in 
our  local  nomenclature;  and,  secondly,  to  the  possibility  of 
avoiding,  by  organized  and  intelligent  effort,  the  indefinite 
continuance  of  such  monstrosities  as  now  disfigure  the  map, 
distress  the  judicious  mind,  and  become  the  despair  of  post- 
masters. One  shudders  at  the  possibility  of  the  fiftieth  repe- 
tition of  "Elk  Eidge"  or  "Enterprise,"  while  there  are  thou- 
sands of  fit  and  euphonious  names,  all  unused,  or  but  little 
used,  waiting  to  be  adopted.  The  neglect  of  the  names  of 
American  discoverers  and  explorers,  and  the  failure  to  preserve 
and  to  extend  the  use  of  the  great  vocabulary  of  beautiful  and 
euphonious  aboriginal  names,  are  among  the  primal  wrongs 
which  call  for  redress.  While  the  mischiefs  already  done  can 
not  be  undone,  it  becomes  us  as  historical  inquirers  jealous 
of  the  fame  of  the  early  voyagers  and  explorers  of  our  con- 

35 


36  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

tinent,  and  sedulous  to  preserve  tlie  only  traces  likely  to  re- 
main of  tlie  aborigines  whom  we  have  dispossessed,  to  interest 
ourselves  in  arresting  the  tide  of  boundless  monotony  of  nomen- 
clature, which  is  sweeping  over  the  land-  We  shoul  d  take  pride 
enough  in  our  country  to  save  what  we  can  of  it  from  further 
desecration,  remembering  what  a  heritage  is  ours  of  a  continent 
stretching  from  ocean  to  ocean,  whose  flag  floats  thousands  of 
miles  further  than  the  Eoman  eagles  ever  flew. 

Names  of  places  are  very  rarely  created.  They  are  prepon- 
derantly borrowed  from  foreign  countries,  or  else  transplanted 
from  the  older  settlements  to  new  regions.  Some  (but  unhap- 
pily they  are  comparatively  few)  are  expressions  of  some  inher- 
ent quality,  association,  or  historical  event.  What  names,  for 
example,  can  be  at  once  more  appropriate  and  more  euphoni- 
ous than  Sierra  i^Tevada,  or  Blue  Eidge,  or  Kocky  Mountains? 
Ko  doubt  all  proper  names  had  originally  a  peculiar  and  appro- 
priate meaning.  Multitudes  of  towns  and  villages,  as  well  as 
estates,  have  been  named  from  early  owners  or  residents. 
This  is  evinced  in  the  everywhere-found  affixes  to  family  names 
like  town,  torij  ville,  hurg^  and  horough,  which  form  such  count- 
less combinations  in  the  local  nomenclature  of  every  State  in 
the  Union. 

The  new  world,  so  far  as  its  nomenclature  is  concerned,  may 
fairly  be  termed  for  the  most  part  but  a  renaissance  of  the  old. 
Take  out  of  the  map  of  most  of  our  States  all  names  of  foreign 
derivation  (including,  of  course,  the  British)  and  surprisingly 
few  native  names  will  remain.  Names  which  were  fossilized 
on  the  banks  of  the  Euphrates  and  the  Jordan  three  thousand 
years  ago  are  found  on  the  banks  of  the  Susquehanna  and  the 
Mississippi  to-day. 

Some  of  our  early  nomenclators  appear  to  have  thought  that 
the  farther  they  could  fetch  a  name  from  remote  antiquity,  the 
better  it  would  sound.  New  York  State,  especially,  suffered 
from  the  classic  craze  in  the  person  of  a  surveyor- general 
named  De  Witt,  who  was  enamored  of  "the  glory  that  was 
Greece  and  the  grandeur  that  was  Eome.^^  So  he  baptized  a 
multitude  of  towns  with  the  names  of  ancient  cities,  and  not 
content  with  that,  hitched  to  others  the  names  of  Greek  and 
Eoman  poets,  philosophers,  and  statesmen,  about  as  appropri- 
ate to  New  York  villages  as  would  be  a  sculpture  of  Eomulus 
and  Eemus  in  the  Capitol  at  Washington.  The  banks  of  the 
Genesee  and  the    Mohawk,  instead  of  being    permanently 


AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  NOMENCLATURE — SPOFFORD.     37 

adorned  with  the  beautiful  indigenous  names  abounding  in 
that  region,  were  made  to  echo  ancient  history  as  old  and  as 
dead  as  Julius  Caesar.  The  misfortune  followed  (as  all  bad 
models  always  have  hosts  of  imitators)  that  the  classic  epi- 
demic spread,  until  we  have  among  American  towns  5  Ciceros, 
3  Tullys,  6  Catos,  7  Ovids,  6  Virgils,  9  Horaces,  10  Milos,  7 
Hectors,  7  Solons,  10  Platos,  15  Homers,  and  4  Scipios. 

From  classical  geography  we  have  borrowed  without  rhyme 
or  reason  16  Uticas,  20  Eomes,  5  Marathons,  19  Spartas,  9 
Atticas,  5  Ithacas,  8  Delphis,  18  Athenses,  13  Corinths,  and  25 
Troys.  Fabulous  mythology  contributes  to  our  local  nomencla- 
ture 7  Keptunes,  8  Minervas,  3  Jupiters,  5  Junos,  5  Ulysseses, 
4  Dianas,  22  Auroras,  and  only  1  Apollo. 

But  the  Greek  and  Eoman  hobby,  though  well  ridden,  yields 
to  scriptural  geography  in  the  number,  if  not  in  the  variety  of 
borrowed  appellations  for  places.  The  leaven  of  Biblical  lore 
lay  profoundly  working  in  the  souls  of  many  early  settlers  all 
through  the  North  and  South.  So  we  have  (among  many 
more)  22  Bethels,  10  Jordans,  9  Jerichos,  14  Bethlehems,  22 
Goshens,  21  Shilohs,  11  Oarmels,  18  Tabors  and  Mount  Tabors, 
23  Zions  and  Mount  Zions,  26  Edens,  30  Lebanons,  26  Hebrons, 
and  36  Sharons,  and  compounds. 

From  the  local  nomenclatures  of  other  countries  of  the  East 
we  have  not  borrowed  largely.  Still,  we  have  11  Egypts,  14 
Cairos,  15  Alexandrias,  5  Bagdads,  11  Damascuses,  19  Palmy- 
ras, 14  Garthages,  9  Memphises,  11  Delhis,  4  Ceylons,  5  Chinas, 
and  25  Cantons. 

The  most  copious  vocabulary  of  our  local  names  is  of  British 
origin.  This  is  readily  accounted  for  by  the  extensive  immi- 
gration from  that  country  in  the  seventeenth  century,  when 
the  first  settlers  instinctively  took  the  readiest  means  of  find- 
ing names  for  each  new  settlement  in  the  wilderness.  New 
England  and  the  southern  colonies  were  thickly  sown  with 
appellatives  transplanted  from  England,  and  at  a  later  period 
from  Scotland  and  Ireland.  Of  American  towns  duplicating 
from  ten  to  thirty  times  over  the  names  of  British  cities  and 
boroughs,  the  number  is  surprisingly  large.  Taking  eighty 
of  the  more  familiar  English  cities  and  towns,  we  find  that 
these  eighty  have  sufficed  to  name  more  than  a  thousand 
American  places. 

As  to  foreign  names  other  than  British,  while  reduplication 
is  more  rare,  certain  European  names  have  been  prime  favorites. 


38  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

While  London  has  but  13  American  namesakes,  Paris  has  22, 
and  Geneva,  owing  partly  to  the  euphony  of  the  name  and 
partly  to  its  historic  associations,  has  18.  Some  European 
countries  are  widely  duplicated— witness,  17  Denmarks,  12 
]!>rorways,  and  19  Hollands.  Of  foreign  languages  the.  French 
is  the  most  widespread  in  our  geogi^aphy,  the  French  explora- 
tions and  occupation  from  1525  to  1763  having  bestowed  hosts 
of  names  still  retained  in  our  states  adjacent  to  Canada,  from 
Maine  to  Wisconsin,  and  along  the  Mississippi  from  its  sources 
to  its  mouth,  besides  the  fragmentary  survival  of  Southern 
Huguenot  emigration  in  such  names  as  Beaufort,  Port  Eoyal, 
etc.  Spanish  nomenclature  is  very  widely  prevalent  in  i^ew 
Mexico,  California,  and  other  regions  adjacent  to  the  Pacific 
coast,  while  there  is  a  survival  of  the  former  dominion  of 
Spain  in  the  local  nomenclature  of  Florida.  The  early  occu- 
pation of  New  York  by  natives  of  Holland  has  left  permanent 
records  in  the  many  Dutch  names  of  streams,  localities,  and 
villages  in  eastern  New  York  and  a  part  of  New  Jersey. 

In  more  recent  years  the  heavy  immigration  from  Germany 
has  helped  to  spread  German  names,  though  to  a  very  moder- 
ate degree,  in  the  Western  States,  while  a  very  few  Scandi- 
navian names  of  places  are  to  be  found  in  the  Northwest. 
Switzerland  has  its  little  commemoration  in  Vevay  and  other 
names  on  the  banks  of  the  Ohio. 

Tracing  the  origin  of  the  names  of  our  44  States,  we  find 
that  6  are  Spanish — California,  Colorado,  Florida,  Montana, 
Nevada,  and  Texas j  3  French — Louisiana,  Maine,  and  Ver- 
mont; 11  British — Delaware,  Georgia,  Maryland,  New  Hamp- 
shire, New  Jersey,  New  York,  North  Carolina,  Pennsylvania, 
South  Carolina,  Virginia,  and  West  Virginia;  3  of  English 
manufacture  or  individual — Indiana,  Ehode  Island,  and  Wash- 
ington; and  21  aboriginal  or  Indian,  viz:  Alabama,  Arkan- 
sas, Connecticut,  Idaho,  Illinois,  Iowa,  Kansas,  Kentucky, 
Massachusetts,  Michigan,  Minnesota,  Mississippi,  Missouri, 
Nebraska,  North  Dakota,  Ohio,  Oregon,  South  Dakota,  Ten- 
nessee, Wisconsin,  and  Wyoming. 

It  is  highly  creditable  to  our  national  taste,  as  well  as  to  the 
average  good  sense  of  Congress,  that  so  large  a  number  of 
names  native  to  the  soil  and  appropriate,  as  well  as  euphoni- 
ous, have  been  preserved  in  the  designations  of  our  States. 
But  it  is  deplorable  that  one  newly  created  State  should  have 
been  admitted  as  Washington,  instead  of  Takoma,  or  some 


AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  NOMENCLATURE — SPOFFORD.     39 

other  aboriginal  name.  It  has  already  created  endless  annoy- 
ance and  loss  in  correspondence  by  its  confusion  with  the 
capital  of  the  country.  What  is  still  more  to  be  regretted  is 
that  so  few,  comparatively,  of  the  great  and  attractive  vocab- 
ulary of  Indian  names  have  been  applied  to  the  naming  of  new 
towns  throughout  the  Union.  While  many  rivers  and  lakes 
(including  happily  a  large  share  of  the  most  important)  bear 
aboriginal  names,  bestowed  long  before  the  United  States 
became  a  nation,  and  several  States  (notably  Kew  York,  Penn- 
sylvania, Yirginia,  the  Carolinas,  Georgia,  Alabama,  Florida, 
Ohio,  Oregon,  and  Washington)  have  done  themselves  honor 
by  calling  some  of  their  counties  by  these  handsome  names, 
instead  of  after  so-called  statesmen  whom  nobody  remembers, 
very  few  towns  and  villages,  even  in  these  States,  bear  Indian 
names.  Yet  witness  what  a  prodigality  of  fine  melodious 
names  remain,  the  best  legacy  which  the  unlettered  red  man 
could  leave  us  before  he  vanished  forever  before  the  march  of 
civilization.  I  can  cite  but  a  few — a  very  few — only,  out  of 
hundreds  equally  eligible. 

Wallula,  Wyandotte,  Winona,  Wyoming,  Yenango,  Tioga, 
Towanda,  Tallula,  Tuscarora,  Toronto,  Tallapoosa,  Shawnee, 
Shenandoah,  Suwanee,  Scioto,  Saranac,  Sandusky,  Seneca, 
Saginaw,  Saratoga,  Eappahannock,  Eoanoke,  Pemaquid,  Poto- 
mac, Ponca,  Patapsco,  Powhatan,  Penobscot,  Oswego,  Onoko, 
Ottawa,  Osceola,  Ontario,  Nanticoke,  Ii»5'ottoway,  Niagara, 
Nantucket,  Mohegan,  Merrimac,  Minnehaha,  Mackinaw,  Mus- 
kingum, Meenahga,  Minnewaska,  Miami,  Mohawk,  Maumee, 
Mingo,  Lackawanna,  Kennebec,  Kanawha,  Juniata,  Hoboken, 
Hiawatha,  Huron,  Horicon,  Genesee,  Erie,  Accomac,  Allegheny, 
Alachua,  Aroostook,  Ampersand,  Chesapeake,  Catawba,  Chip- 
pewa, Cayuga,  Chenango,  and  Chicago. 

Such  names  as  these  roll  trippingly  off  the  tongue  with  liquid 
harmony.  They  unite  the  three  leading  requisites  for  good 
local  names — euphony,  simplicity,  and  appropriateness.  If  it 
be  objected  that  the  etymology  of  the  Indian  languages  shows 
all  their  names  to  have  had  merely  local  application,  thus  un- 
fitting them  for  transplanting  to  other  regions,  the  answer  is 
twofold:  First,  there  is  no  such  advanced  stage  of  knowledge 
or  of  agreement  among  ethnologists  versed  in  the  signification 
of  Indian  names  as  can  give  adequate  basis  for  the  assertion  j 
and,  second,  the  transfer  to  any  part  of  this  continent  of  any 
aboriginal  names  whatever  is  infinitely  more  logical  and  appro- 


40  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

priate  than  the  wholesale  importation  ever  going  on  of  foreign 
appellations  representing  remote  nations,  and  ages  still  more 
remote.  Why  boggle  over  a  few  uncertain  Indian  etymologies 
when  we  have  been  swallowing  for  generations  the  most  as- 
tounding, incongruous,  and  inappropriate  combinations  which 
the  ignorance  or  the  misapplied  ingenuity  of  man  could  apply 
to  designate  our  towns? 

If  it  is  said  that  Indian  names  mean  nothing  to  us,  we  may 
reply  that  neither  do  the  old  English  names,  in  nine  cases  out 
of  ten,  mean  anything  in  America.  Norfolk  and  Suffolk,  wide- 
spread names  as  they  are  among  us,  are  not  apprehended  by 
Americans,  who  pronounce  them,  as  meaning  Forth  folk  and 
South  folk — their  primary  signification.  iTor,  even  if  they 
were,  would  they  have  the  slightest  applicability  to  any  of  the 
towns  and  counties  they  here  represent.  Is  it  any  more 
inapposite  or  misleading  to  diffdse  these  aboriginal  names 
over  our  new  States  and  Territories,  than  to  keep  on  forever 
creating  the  fiftieth  Brownsville  or  the  hundredth  Johnstown, 
or  the  thousandth  Jonesboro?  How  much  better  would  it 
have  been  to  name  ISiew  York  City,  ^'Manhattan,"  than  to 
perpetuate  in  that  great  metropolis  the  ignoble  name  of  a 
graceless  royal  English  duke ! 

As  between  names  native  to  the  soil,  and  euphonious  in 
speech,  but  with  only  partial  fitness,  and  foreign  names  with 
no  fitness  at  all,  we  may  well  prefer  the  former. 

One  of  the  most  prolific  sources  from  which  our  names  of 
places  have  been  drawn  is  the  Biographical  Dictionary.  Be- 
ginning with  the  line  of  Presidents  of  the  United  States,  each 
of  whom  has  from  three  to  thirty-two  towns  called  after  his 
name,  we  have  a  long  catalogue  of  statesmen,  politicians,  mili- 
tary and  naval  officers,  authors,  inventors,  and  men  of  science 
who  have  given  names  more  or  less  widely  distributed.  Alex- 
ander Hamilton  is  commemorated  by  no  less  than  30  cities  or 
towns,  Clinton  by  30,  Webster  by  24,  Benton  by  20,  Calhoun 
by  13,  Clay  by  7  (besides  many  compounds),  Quincy  by  19, 
Douglas  by  21,  and  Blaine  by  20. 

In  many  cases  of  places  named  after  minor  politicians,  we 
are  left  to  wonder  whether  the  chief  object  might  have  been  to 
give  to  some  local  celebrity  of  the  hour  his  sole  chance  of 
being  remembered  at  all. 

Of  all  Americans,  the  illustrious  Dr.  Franklin  has  the  honor 
of  leading  in  the  choice  of  his  name  for  places  all  over  the  land. 


AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  NOMENCLATURE SPOFFORD.     41 

His  list  (including  compounds  of  the  name)  numbers  63. 
Andrew  Jackson  comes  next  with  61  towns,  then  Washington 
with  49,  Jefferson  with  47,  Madison  with  44,  Monroe  with  43, 
and  Garfield  with  24. 

Among  generals  of  the  Army,  Marion  heads  the  list  with  30 
towns,  Warren  25,  La  Fayette  (in  various  forms)  55,  Mont- 
gomery 17,  Stark  14,  St.  Clair  11,  De  Kalb  10,  Knox  10, 
Pulaski  11,  Sheridan  22,  and  the  various  Lees  24.  Of  naval 
officers,  20  towns  are  named  for  Commodore  Perry,  17  for 
Decatur,  16  for  Elliott,  and  8  for  Bainbridge. 

In  the  list  of  authors,  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  British 
take  the  lead  in  the  adoption  of  their  names,  there  being  31 
towns  named  Milton,  18  Byron,  14  Addison,  and  10  Burns, 
while  Irving  names  21  towns.  Cooper  13,  Bryant  11,  Emerson 
9,  Bancroft  9,  and  Hawthorne  6.  The  great  scientist  Hum- 
boldt has  12  towns  called  after  his  name,  Kewton  19,  and  Dar- 
win 5. 

The  early  American  discoverers  and  explorers  have  been, 
with  the  sole  exceptions  of  Columbus  and  Americus  Yespucius, 
almost  wholly  neglected.  The  former  is  commemorated  in  20 
towns  named  Columbus,  and  27  Columbias.  Five  places  are 
named  Americus  and  3  America.  While  Ealeigh  and  De  Soto, 
La  Salle  and  Marquette,  Hennepin  and  Hudson,  are  remem- 
bered, Champlain  has  but  a  single  place  called  after  his  name, 
while  Roberval,  De  Monts,  Argall,  Iberville,  Frobisher,  Gorges, 
Cartier,  Balboa,  Dablon,  Bressani,  Baffin,  Bering,  and  Gosnold 
have  none.  What  could  be  more  appropriate  than  to  render 
some  measure  of  historical  justice,  however  tardy,  to  these 
and  many  other  explorers  and  voyagers,  by  bestowing  their 
names  upon  some  part  of  the  country  which  they  helped  to 
throw  open  to  civilization  ?  The  early  history  of  the  continent, 
concerning  which  new  and  profound  interest  has  lately  devel- 
oped, would  thus  be  suggestively  connected  with  names  worthy 
of  remembrance,  and  the  young  would  learn  geography  and 
history,  biography  and  the  annals  of  discovery,  by  being  put 
upon  inquiry  into  the  origin  of  such  names  of  places. 

There  is  one  excuse  for  the  universal  duplication  of  the  most 
common-place  names  throughout  the  United  States,  and  that 
is,  the  unexampled  rapidity  of  its  settlement.  Emigrants  into 
a  new  and  undeveloped  region  experience  as  one  of  their  first 
wants  that  of  a  name  for  each  new  place  or  settlement.  Thus 
it  is  that  the  westward-moving  wave  of  population  bears  with 


42  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

it  a  whole  vocabulary  derived  from  the  region  it  left  behind. 
The  emigrants  naturally  bestow  names  long  familiar,  whether 
commemorative  of  families,  natural  features,  or  abstract  quali- 
ties, upon  the  settlements  which  they  found  in  the  wilderness. 
These  names,  once  fixed,  generally  remain  unchanged.  Hence 
the  importance  of  giving  a  broader  and  better  scope  to  our  local 
nomenclature,  and  by  the  diffusion  of  wide  intelligence  as  to 
the  rich  field  of  neglected  names,  aboriginal  and  other,  open- 
ing a  way  for  radical  improvement. 

In  the  good  work  of  reform  in  this  direction,  what  more 
appropriate  agency  could  be  invoked  than  our  historical  socie- 
ties, national  and  local?  It  is  theirs  to  watch  with  sedulous 
care  every  phase  of  the  country's  development,  and  to  con- 
serve whatever  is  best  and  most  important  in  the  past  for  the 
benefit  of  the  i)resent  and  the  future. 

Our  institutions  of  learning  also,  as  well  as  the  local  socie- 
ties, now  so  numerous,  devoted  to  history,  should  foster  the 
study  of  local  antiquities  and  early  explorations  in  their  neigh- 
borhood, and  thus,  each  from  its  own  center  of  influence,  con- 
tribute to  enlighten  public  opinion  on  the  subject  of  a  better 
local  nomenclature.  This  association  might  do  much  to  diffuse 
information  by  digesting  tables  of  suitable  names  of  historic  or 
native  significance,  or,  in  due  time,  recommending  to  the  postal 
authorities  lists  of  proper  designations  for  new  post-offices. 
Already  much  has  been  done  by  the  exercise  of  wise  discretion 
by  successive  Postmasters-General.  We  have  got  rid  of  such 
names  as  Hardscrabble,  Buzzard  Roost,  and  Yuba  Dam,  in 
favor  of  better  and  more  decent  appellations.  Let  the  good 
work  go  on,  and  many  more  ridiculous  and  inappropriate 
names  be  reformed  out  of  existence.  Good  names,  once 
bestowed,  are  among  the  most  lasting  of  things  earthly.  They 
may  change  in  form,  but  they  rarely  perish.  They  outlast 
dynasties,  they  outlive  generations  and  ages  of  men — they  are 
in  a  word,  perennial.  So  much  the  more  important  is  it  that 
their  survival  should  be,  so  far  as  it  can  be  made  to  be,  a  sur- 
vival of  the  fittest. 


V -THE  DEFINITION  OF  HISTORY. 


By  COL.  W^ILLIAM  PRESTON  JOHNSTON, 

PEESIDENT  OF  TULANE  UNIVERSITY. 


43 


THE  DEFINITION  OF  HISTORY. 


By  William  Preston  Johnston. 


It  is  with  diffidence  that  I  make  my  answer  to  the  invitation 
to  address  this  Congress  of  Historians.  What  I  shall  attempt 
is  a  more  accurate  and  scientific  definition  of  history.  If  it 
effects  no  more  than  to  elicit  judicious  criticism  even  that  will 
be  a  gain.  My  task  will  be  fulfilled  if  I  can  add  some  small 
increment  in  the  way  of  exact  thinking  to  the  body  of  histori- 
cal knowledge. 

That  there  is  a  necessity  for  such  a  definition  seems  evident. 
There  can  be  but  small  addition  to  knowledge  without  exact 
thinking,  and  the  first  step  in  that  direction  is  definition.  I 
believe  that  in  a  very  casual  examination  of  dictionaries,  ency- 
clopedias, and  formal  treatises  it  will  be  discovered  that  the 
definitions  given  of  history  are  inaccurate  and  inadequate. 
So,  when  we  turn  to  the  writings  of  the  historians,  philos- 
ophers, and  essayists  to  learn  what  history  is,  its  scope  and 
limits,  what  do  we  find?  Eloquent  outbursts,  pregnant  pas- 
sages, and  sparkling  epigrams  that  arouse  the  imagination 
and  quicken  the  intellect,  that  stir  and  illuminate,  but  do  not 
define.  They  tell  us  much  about  history,  but  not  what  it  is. 
The  epigram,  with  its  electric  flash,  lights  up  a  point  in  the 
intellectual  horizon  or  photographs  a  picture  in  the  memory; 
but  it  does  not  enable  us  to  measure  boundaries  and  set  land- 
marks. This  humbler  and  more  prosaic  task  is  left  to  the 
definition.  In  1872,  in  a  public  address,  I  ventured  the  fol- 
lowing definition:  ^< History  is  man's  true  record  of  whatever 
is  general,  important,  and  ascertained  in  the  living  past  of 
humanity."  Without  withdrawing  this  definition,  I  shall  en- 
deavor to  restate  my  idea  more  exactly,  and  now  propose  the 
following  definition,  which  I  think  iacludes  the  former :  "  His- 
tory is  man's  formal  record  of  actual  human  phenomena,  as 
consecutively  manifested  in  the  past,  both  in  the  individual 

45 


46  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

and  in  society,  in  so  far  as  they  have  been  ascertained  to  be 
general,  important,  enduring,  and  true,  with  the  legitimate 
deductions  drawn  for  the  pleasure  and  education  of  mankind." 

Before  examining  this  definition  in  detail  let  us  consider 
what  history  is  as  conceived  by  our  great  thinkers.  Carlyle 
calls  it  "a  looking  before  and  after;"  ^'the  message,  verbal  or 
written,  which  all  mankind  delivers  to  every  man;  it  is  the 
only  articulate  communication  which  the  past  can  have  with 
the  present,  the  distant  with  what  is  here."  Emerson,  con- 
densing this  thought,  says  that  history  is  the  record  of  the 
works  of  the  universal  mind.  Kingsley  says  that  "history  is 
the  history  of  men  and  women,  and  nothing  else."  Dionysius 
Halicarnassus  originated  the  phrase,  "a  philosophy  from  ex- 
amples." Sismondi  regards  it  as  "  an  essential  part  of  the  great 
system  of  moral  and  political  science."  Gervinus  says,  '^His- 
tory was  always  understood  to  be  political  history;"  and  See- 
ley  says,  "History  is  past  politics."  Dr.  Thomas  Arnold  calls 
history,  "the  biography  of  a  society;"  and  Herbert  Spencer 
says,  "the  only  history  of  practical  value  is  what  may  be 
called  descriptive  sociology."  Grote  and  Macaulay,  with  a 
host  of  followers,  aim  to  represent  the  picture  of  national  life. 
Sir  James  Stephens  views  history  as  a  divine  drama;  and  Bun- 
sen,  as  "that  most  sacred  epic,  or  dramatic  poem,  of  which  God 
is  the  poet,  humanity  the  hero,  and  the  historian  the  philosoph- 
ical interpreter."  To  these  might  be  added  any  number  of 
sparkling  and  suggestive  sentences  from  the  same  and  other 
eminent  writers.  They  each  illustrate  some  phase  or  aspect  of 
the  purpose  or  province  of  history,  but  they  are  not  defini- 
tions because  they  do  not  define,  l^one  of  them  include  all 
that  is  essential  to  the  idea  and  exclude  all  that  is  accidental. 
Yet  it  is  by  a  comparison  of  such  dissimilar  views,  from  such 
varying  standpoints,  that  we  may  attain  a  more  adequate  con- 
ception of  this  question,  since  it  is  in  the  correlation  of  many 
partial  truths  that  we  arrive  at  a  larger  truth. 

A  great  philosopher.  Sir  William  Hamilton,  went  near  the 
core  of  the  matter  when  he  said,  "  History  is  properly  the 
narrative  of  a  consecutive  series  of  phenomena  in  time." 
This  touches  very  near  the  core  indeed,  but  surely  it  does  not 
give  to  history  its  full  scope,  or  limit  it  by  its  well  recognized 
restrictions.  When  Sir  William  Hamilton  defines  history  as 
the  record  of  phenomena  in  time  merely,  he  leaves  it  open  to 
the  abuse  of  the  term  which  Carlyle  presently  employed. 


THE   DEFINITION   OF   HISTORY JOHNSTON.  47 

Does  lie  mean  time  present,  past  or  future,  or  all  of  these? 
Do  these  phenomena  include  prophecy  as  well  as  accomplished 
fact,  the  foretold  as  well  as  the  aftertold,  as  Carlyle  not 
vaguely  adumbrates?  Does  it  embrace  the  potential  alike 
with  the  real,  as  his  fellow  seer,  Emerson,  tells  us?  Possibly 
in  some  transcendental  sense,  but  not  in  the  terms  in  which 
language  ordinarily  measures  meaning.  A  thousand  years 
are  as  one  day  in  the  eye  of  the  Eternal,  looking  down  from 
the  immensity  of  Omniscience  around  and  beyond  the  mile- 
stones that  mark  the  process  of  human  thought;  but  inside 
the  limits  of  time  humanity  is  held  fast  to  the  sequences  of 
past,  present,  and  future,  and  history  belongs  to  the  past. 
We  must  dismiss  from  it  that  coming  time  which,  Carlyle  tells 
us,  *^ already  waits  unseen,  yet  definitively  shaped,  predeter- 
mined and  inevitable  in  the  time  come,"  except  in  so  far  as 
its  antecedent  phenomena  may  be  causative  and  provide 
deductions,  teaching  and  a  philosophy  which  it  offers  the 
future  as  legacies  of  the  past.  History  is  the  record  of  what 
has  been,  though  it  seeks  with  its  half  worked  problems  to 
solve  the  equation  of  the  future. 

Again,  Hamilton  has  omitted  from  the  definition  of  history 
that  its  phenomena  occur  in  space  as  well  as  in  time.  And  yet 
all  our  thinking  is  conditioned  by  space;  or  to  say  the  least, 
the  reality  of  history  depends  on  its  transactions  occurring  in 
space.  History  is  a  man's  record  of  the  self-consciousness  of 
the  race  in  concrete  process,  producing  what  we  call  events, 
and  viewed  with  reference  to  his  environment  and  actual  rela- 
tions. It  is  in  emphasis  of  this  fact  that  the  Encyclopedia 
Metropolitana  defines  it  as  "  a  narrative  of  real  eventsP  Its 
phenomena  are  conditioned  by  space  as  well  as  time.  A  phe- 
nomenon outside  of  human  consciousness  has  no  place  in  his- 
tory. Inside  human  consciousness  it  belongs  to  organic  man 
and  the  material  world,  as  well  as  to  the  realm  of  spirit.  Ham- 
ilton only  implies  man  as  the  teller  of  the  narrative  and  yet 
man  must  also  be  considered  as  the  cause,  or  the  vehicle,  or 
the  actor  of  these  phenomena,  their  subject  or  object,  or  both. 
Man  is  the  first  postulate  of  history.  He  is  the  beginning  and 
the  end  of  it.  He  enacts  it;  he  tells  it;  he  accepts  it  as  a 
message  or  gospel  for  guidance  and  self-realization.  Man, 
mind,  phenomena,  memory,  narrative— and  history  is  born. 

But  while  we  should  recognize  that  the  phenomena  belong- 
ing to  history  are  conditioned  by  space  as  well  as  time  and  are 


48  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

organic  in  man,  we  must  keep  constantly  in  view  that  the  mate- 
rial universe,  which  we  call  nature,  except  in  its  relation  to 
the  sentient  spirit  of  man,  does  not  belong  to  the  province  of 
history.  Science  is  the  register  of  nature  j  history,  the  record 
of  man.  The  fundamental  difference  we  find  in  our  thinking 
is  between  man  and  nature  j  man,  the  image  of  the  Ego,  and 
nature,  the  image  of  what  is  external  and  alien  to  the  Ego. 
When  man  records  what  he  knows  about  the  stars  we  give  the 
science  a  distinctive  name,  we  call  it  astronomy;  about  the 
earth,  we  call  it  geology,  geography,  etc.  Why  confuse  mean- 
ings by  introducing  the  word  history  into  these  ideas?  The 
term  Natural  History  is  outworn  and  effete,  and  should  be 
dispensed  with  in  scientific  language.  The  realm  of  nature 
belongs  to  science,  not  to  history. 

The  world,  which  constitutes  man^s  environment  and  is  the 
house,  or  dwelling  place,  of  the  human  race  is  the  theater  of 
man's  action,  the  stage  on  which  are  presented  all  those  phe- 
nomena we  name  historical.  Hence  history  must  represent  it 
as  the  frame  of  the  picture,  the  setting  of  the  jewel,  possibly 
as  the  shirt  of  Kessus  that  clings  to  his  corporeal  existence 
with  fatal  embrace.  History  draws  upon  all  the  sciences  that 
record  or  explain  nature  for  its  infinite  material,  but  it  is  the 
record  of  phenomena,  which,  while  modified  and  influenced  by 
the  environment,  have  their  own  independent  sphere  of  action 
in  the  self-consciousness  of  organic  man.  So  that  what  relates 
to  physical  man  merely  ought  properly  to  be  called  anthro- 
pology, instead  of  trying  to  group  universal  knowledge  under 
this  vague  term. 

That  this  caution  is  not  unnecessary  is  exemplified  by 
Diesterweg  and  a  school  of  thinkers  who  include  the  universe 
in  whatever  point  they  have  under  discussion.  Diesterweg 
says,  "The  domain  of  history  may  extend  to  everything  that 
has  ever  transpired  on  earth.  Just  as  the  life  of  an  individual, 
of  a  nation,  of  the  human  race,  belongs  to  history,  so  do  the 
processes  of  inanimate  nature."  It  is  against  such  unphilo- 
sophical  uses  of  the  word  that  this  paper  is  offered  as  a  protest. 
Such  an  expansion  of  meaning  must  result  in  equivocal  and 
worthless  terminology.  All  is  not  history  that  is  in  aid  of  it, 
that  tends  to  it,  that  is  valuable  or  even  precious  to  it.  It  is  a 
misnomer  to  designate  as  history  treatises  on  bugs  and  cats 
and  clothes  and  wine,  on  diseases,  trades  and  arts,  on  literature, 
or  even  on  philosophy.    A  chronological  narrative  of  events 


THE   DEFINITION   OF   HISTORY JOHNSTON. 


49 


about  the  lives  and  writings  and  tendencies  of  authors  and 
philosophers  is  entitled  history  only  by  courtesy,  or,  as  we 
might  say,  by  brevet.    It  is  but  amplified  biography. 

But  I  have  cited  the  passage  from  Diesterweg  to  point  out 
another  error.  He  says,  "  The  domain  of  nature  may  extend  to 
everything  that  has  ever  transpired  on  earth."  And  yet  this 
does  not  go  as  far  as  Emerson,  who  tells  us  that  history  is  the 
record  of  the  works  of  the  universal  mind.  Is  this  not,  after 
all,  only  playing  with  words?  There  is,  indeed,  an  unblotted 
record  of  all  the  acts,  thoughts  and  aspirations  of  every  human 
soul,  unimpeachable,  ineffaceable.  It  is  self-registered  in  the 
Book  of  Life  by  the  processes  of  the  omniscient,  self-conscious 
verity,  that  is  and  was  and  is  to  come.  This  is  absolute  his- 
tory. But  this  World  Book  shall  not  be  read  by  finite  eyes, 
and  we  must  narrow  our  views  of  history  to  man^s  record  of 
man.  What  a  difference  is  here !  What  a  torn  and  blotted 
leaf  is  this  from  the  great  volume  of  the  past — of  the  all !  With 
what  feeble  fingers  have  the  race  scrawled  in  this  brief  and 
abstract  chronicle  the  things  done  and  said  by  its  foremost  men, 
its  crude  guesses  and  beliefs,  its  experiences  and  visions.  But 
after  all  it  is  humanity^s  little  horn  book  from  which  it  hopes 
to  puzzle  out  the  Great  Book,  or  Bible,  of  the  Totality,  and  to 
this  pursuit  we  are  urged  by  all  that  is  noblest  in  us.  Yet  frag- 
mentary as  is  the  record,  small  and  mean  as  it  is  compared  to 
the  full  and  unblotted  register  of  human  action,  think  what  a 
mass  of  information  has  been  heaped  up  in  those  cemeteries  of 
thought,  the  great  libraries  of  the  world!  I^o  mind  can  mas- 
ter it.  And  how  little  of  this  great  body  of  fact,  of  this  record 
of  human  action,  belongs  properly  to  history  j  how  much  of  it 
must  be  relegated  to  other  spheres  of  knowledge,  or  to  the 
limbo  of  inutilities ! 

The  first  and  most  essential  criterion  of  history  is  its  truth. 
It  is  the  representation  of  the  real.  In  the  nature  of  things, 
aU  forms  of  the  unreal,  whether  of  fiction,  of  falsification,  or 
of  fable  must  be  rejected  from  the  limits  of  history.  The  prin- 
cipal business  of  the  historian  is  to  discover  and  eliminate 
from  the  record  whatever  is  not  true:  and  this,  although  abso- 
lute truth  is  impossible  and  language  merely  approximate  fact, 
and  fact  itself  is  true  only  in  its  relations.  History,  therefore, 
must  partake  of  the  error  and  fallibility  of  man^s  nature  ,•  and  its 
problems  do  in  fact  present  a  multitude  of  unknown,  unascer- 
tainable,  variable,  and  complex  data.  The  Encyclopedia  Bri- 
S.  Mis.  104 4 


50  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

tannica  defines  it  as,  ^Hhe  prose  narrative  of  past  events  as 
probably  true  as  tbe  fallibility  of  human  testimony  will  allow." 
And  yet  in  its  ultimate  decisions  it  is  as  credible  and  trust- 
wortby  as  tlie  human  testimony  on  which  we  build  our  faiths 
and  guide  our  lives.  There  are  many  facts,  which,  under  every 
test  and  mode  of  proof,  may  be  pronounced  certain.  So  cer- 
tainty— a  moral  certainty — is  one  of  the  canons  of  genuine 
history.  The  fact,  or  transaction,  must  be  an  actual  or  real 
fact,  and  it  must  not  only  be  true,  but  ascertained,  verified, 
and  firmly  substantiated,  before  it  can  properly  be  called  his- 
torical. 

Again  history  is  only  concerned  with  the  important,  with 
what  Herbert  Spencer  has  denominated  "organizable  facts." 
The  trivial  must  be  eliminated.  It  is  only  the  important,  vital, 
enduring  facts  and  ideas  that  go  to  make  up  history.  To  know, 
to  remember,  to  understand  much,  we  must  be  content  to  ignore, 
to  omit,  to  forget  much.  We  must  reject  whatever  can  not  be 
used  as  an  element,  or  factor,  in  the  development  of  the  indi- 
vidual or  of  society,  or  as  the  symbol  of  some  great  moral  fact, 
or  as  an  element  in  the  evolution  of  final  truth.  Fossilized 
fact,  mummied  truth,  petrified  thought  belong  to  archaeology. 
Palseology,  or  the  science  of  antiquities,  hoards  in  its  junk  shop 
whatever  is  old,  odd,  or  curious,  the  perishable,  unorganized 
facts  that  it  imagines  are,  or  may  become,  organizable.  From 
these  cabinets  the  historic  muse  selects  here  and  there  a  fact 
to  illustrate  or  elucidate  an  event,  or  to  verify  a  statement  or 
hypothesis.  But  mere  fact  without  moral  significance,  with 
no  spiritual  life,  no  continuity  of  existence,  binding  present, 
past,  and  future  in  rational  process,  is  not  history.  History 
tells  what  men  have  thought  and  done.  I  say  thought  and 
done,  because  the  deed  without  the  underlying  thought  would 
change  history  from  a  festival  of  the  reason  to  a  funeral,  and 
men  would  turn  from  it  and  leave  the  dead  past  to  bury  its  own 
dead. 

We  must  accept  with  Hegel  that  reason  is  at  once  the  infinite 
material  and  infinite  formative  power  of  history,  and  history 
the  objective  development  of  the  divine  idea  of  reason,  which 
is  free  and  self-conscious.  History  defines  itself  by  the  stand- 
ard of  the  vital,  the  important,  the  true.  This  alone  is  imper- 
ishable. Eliminating,  symbolizing,  and  formulating  the  body 
of  universal  fact,  and  interpreting  it  in  conceivable  forms  and 
methods,  history  may  be  termed  the  algebra  of  spiritual  man. 


THE    DEFINITION   OF    HISTORY JOHNSTON.  51 

If  these  thoughts  in  regara  to  history,  which  I  have  found 
most  easily  presented  in  the  way  of  criticism  of  other  writers 
far  abler  than  myself,  be  correct,  we  have  the  following  data 
for  a  definition  established :  That  history  belongs  to  the  past, 
and  that  it  is  man's  record  or  narrative  of  human  phenomena, 
which  have  been  ascertained  or  verified,  as  general,  important, 
enduring  or  vital,  and  true.  In  the  definition  I  have  proposed 
to  you  I  have  qualified  this  general  statement  by  certain  limita- 
tions that  seem  to  me  necessary,  or  at  least  proper.  The  reason 
for  adopting  Hamilton's  limitation  of  the  record  of  history  to 
"  a  consecutive  series  of  phenomena ''  seems  evident  enough. 
An  unconnected  series  of  phenomena  or  events  would  be  as  idle 
as  the  babble  of  the  waves  on  the  beach.  It  would  serve  as  a 
mere  mental  kaleidoscope  to  amuse  the  eye  of  grown  up  children 
with  its  glitter  and  deceptive  symmetry,  but  with  no  function 
to  enlist  reason,  which  sustains  itself  on  causation  as  its  con- 
stant pabulum  and  requirement. 

The  limitation  of  history  to  the  ^'  formal  record  "  of  human 
phenomena  may  not  be  so  imperative,  but  it  seems  to  me  cor- 
rect. The  infinite  material  of  which  history  is  composed  is 
found  everywhere.  As  I  have  said  before,  it  is  found  in  sci- 
ence— the  record  of  nature.  It  is  found  in  the  stores  of  arch- 
aeology, those  legacies  that  humanity  and  nature,  joining  hands, 
have  treasured  as  keys  and  clues  to  the  unrecorded  past.  It 
is  found  in  antiquities,  those  buzzing  flies,  which,  when  they 
swarm,  reveal  the  presence  of  organic  remains.  All  human 
documents,  false,  fabulous,  or  frivolous,  may  serve  a  purpose 
in  history,  though  they  are  not  historical.  A  series  of  truths, 
mathematical  truths  for  instance,  is  not  historical,  for  truth, 
though  essential  to  the  idea  of  history,  is  not  its  only  limita- 
tion. Call  things  by  their  right  names.  The  place  where  his- 
tory is  to  be  found  is  in  histories.  The  unconscious  effort  to 
tell  the  narrator's  thoughts  may  furnish  abundance  of  material 
for  history  J  but  conscious  effort  to  perpetuate  a  record  of  real, 
actual  events,  of  consecutive  human  phenomena,  is  a  necessary 
condition  to  the  production  of  that  which  can  alone  be  cor- 
rectly designated  as  history.  The  purpose  must  be  in  the 
writer,  and  that  purpose  must  be  plainly  evinced  in  the  form 
of  the  document.  Hence  the  use  of  the  word  "  formal "  in  the 
definition. 

Another  point  that  the  definition  brings  out  is  that  the  phe- 
nomena of  history  are  "  manifested  both  in  the  individual  and 


52  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

in  society."  This  is  not  said,  however,  of  individual  phe- 
nomena unless  as  qualified  by  the  words  that  follow,  ^'  general, 
important,  enduring,  and  true."  We  must  not  take  Kingsley's 
saying,  that  "  history  is  the  history  of  men  and  women  and 
nothing  else,"  as  excluding  from  its  scope  those  generaliza- 
tions that  give  it  its  chief  value.  It  is,  in  addition,  as  has 
been  so  often  said,  "philosophy  teaching  by  examples."  His- 
tory must  be  clearly  differentiated  from  biography.  The  moral 
purpose  of  a  biography  may  be  as  lofty  and  its  methods  as 
accurate  as  those  of  history,  but  this  does  not  make  it  history. 
It  is  particular,  not  general.  Biography  narrates  the  events 
of  one  life  in  its  manifold  and  interesting  relations ;  it  is  the 
record  of  individual  life  and  character  5  history  is  the  biogra- 
phy of  a  race,  or  of  a  nation,  or  of  mankind.  Biography  may 
not  inaptly  be  called  the  Mother  of  History.  Yet  no  number 
of  individual  lives,  not  even  a  universal  encyclopedia  of  biog- 
raphy, would  constitute  history.  A  polygon  becomes  a  circle 
only  when  the  number  of  its  sides  is  infinite.  No  one  man's 
life  can  mirror  the  race,  nor,  indeed,  can  any  number  of  per- 
sons, viewed  as  individuals,  afford  a  true  picture  of  humanity. 
History  is  not  made  up  of  a  multitude  of  biographies,  by 
aggregation  or  multiplication.  The  individual  is,  indeed,  the 
unit  of  all  human  phenomena,  but  he  can  not  exist  outside  of 
his  relations  to  other  individuals  and  to  society,  and  hence  it 
is  that  history,  which  regards  the  actual,  does  not  concern 
itself  with  him  except  as  part  of  the  social  organism.  It  is 
said  that  "  history  is  the  essence  of  innumerable  biographies;" 
and  properly  conceived,  this  is  true,  but  the  essence  is  very 
different  from  any  of  its  various  manifestations. 

An  individual  life  is  a  single  ray,  but  in  the  white  light  that 
constitutes  the  totality  of  a  historical  phenomenon,  every  sig- 
nificant figure,  every  intellectual  activity,  every  modifying 
relation  and  condition  must  blend.  Individual  man  is  a  sim- 
ple cell,  but  the  social  organism  composed  of  such  units  is  a 
very  complex  body.  If  this  be  true  of  the  state,  or  autono- 
mous community,  how  much  more  so  is  it  of  that  aggregation 
of  social  units  we  call  mankind.  Dr.  Arnold  called  history 
"the  biography  of  a  society."  This  is,  in  effect,  the  point  of 
of  view  of  Sismondi,  who  treats  it  as  a  branch  of  moral  and 
political  science,  and  of  Gervinus,  who  limits  it  to  political  his- 
tory, and  of  Seeley,  who  calls  it  "  past  politics,"  and  of  a  whole 
school,  indeed  the  great  multitude,  of  systematic  historians, 


THE   DEFINITION   OF   HISTORY — JOHNSTON. 


53 


who  confine  their  attention  to  the  ethical  and  political  prob- 
lems of  their  narrative. 

History  is  the  biography  of  a  society,  and,  more,  it  is  the 
biography  of  mankind.  It  is  not  a  compound,  but  a  resultant 
of  manifold  physical,  intellectual,  and  moral  forces.  History 
finds  its  materials  in  the  individual  data  of  biography;  and 
the  methods  and  aims  of  philosophy  are  the  tools  with  which 
it  provides  a  chart  for  human  conduct.  History  considers 
the  individual,  not  from  an  interest  in  himself,  but  for  that  in 
him  which  has  relation  to  all  outside  of  him.  It  is  because  he 
stands  as  a  type,  mirrors  a  fragment  of  the  universal,  and,  by 
the  exercise  of  his  will,  influences  the  totality  that  he  comes 
within  the  scope  of  history.  And  yet,  to  accept  Herbert 
Spencer's  view,  that  "the  only  history  of  practical  value  is 
what  may  be  called  descriptive  sociology,"  is  to  rob  it  of  its 
highest  functions.  If  it  is  only  valuable  in  its  scientific  deduc- 
tions, and  we  are  to  learn  nothing  from  the  warnings  and 
examples  of  its  simple  narrative,  nothing  from  the  oracles  that 
speak  in  human  voice  from  its  pages,  then  it  must  be  relegated 
to  the  closet  of  the  statistician  and  cease  to  be  the  message  of 
all  mankind  to  every  man.  History  treats  of  the  phenomena 
of  the  individual  man,  because  it  is  written  for  the  edification 
and  entertainment  of  individual  men  and  women.  It  is  only 
thus  that  it  can  speak  to  mankind.  It  propounds  its  legiti- 
mate deductions  from  its  phenomena  for  'Hhe  education  and 
pleasure  of  mankind."  I  have  used  these  words  instead  of 
those  employed  by  the  Encyclopedia  Metropolitana,  "for  the 
instruction  and  amusement  of  mankind,"  because  they  are  fit- 
ter and  more  comprehensive  to  describe  the  pith  and  moment, 
the  power  and  effect,  of  the  great  message  of  the  past  to  the 
present.  It  is  needless  to  dwell  upon  them,  however.  Let 
them  go  for  what  they  are  worth. 

I  shall  not  in  this  paper  attempt  further  to  define  the  mean- 
ing of  history,  an  idea  so  central,  so  vast,  so  comprehensive 
that  we  may  well  be  satisfied  if  in  any  degree  we  approximate 
it.  If  this  paper  shall  not  prove  to  contain  all  that  this  dis- 
tinguished body  has  a  right  to  expect,  it  yet  will  have  accom- 
plished its  purpose  if  it  directs  the  thought  of  the  members  of 
this  Congress  to  the  subject  under  consideration. 


VI -HISTORICAL  INDUSTRIES. 


By  JAMES   SCHOULER,  LL.  D. 
OF  BOSTON. 


55 


HISTORICAL  INDUSTRIES. 


By  James  Schouler. 


Historians  are  sometimes  said  to  be  a  long-lived  race.  To 
historical  students,  at  all  events,  this  is  a  comfortable  theory. 
Eecent  examples  of  a  productive  old  age,  such  as  Eanke  so 
long  supplied,  and  our  own  illustrious  George  Bancroft,  may 
have  lent  strong  force  to  the  supposition.  History  herself,  no 
doubt,  is  a  long-winded  muse,  and  demands  of  each  votary 
the  power  of  continuance.  But  I  doubt  whether  statistics 
would  bear  out  strongly  this  theory  of  a  long-lived  race. 
Among  modern  historians,  well  known,  who  have  died  a  nat- 
ural death,  neither  Mebuhr,  Gibbon,  Macaulay,  nor  Hildreth 
reached  his  sixtieth  yearj  both  Prescott  and  Motley  died  at 
about  63.*  On  the  other  hand,  to  take  poets  alone  whom 
many  of  us  may  have  seen  in  the  flesh,  both  Longfellow  and 
Lowell  passed  well  preserved  the  bounds  of  three  score  years 
and  ten  5  while  Bryant,  Whittier,  and  Holmes,  the  last  of 
whom  still  vigorously  survives,  enjoyed  life  much  beyond  four- 
score; and  of  English  composers  the  most  famous,  both  Ten- 
nyson and  Browning  mellowed  long  before  they  dropped. 

Undoubtedly,  however,  steady  and  systematic  brain-work 
without  brain  worry  conduces  to  health  and  long  life,  whatever 
be  the  special  occupation ;  and  who  may  better  claim  that  pre- 
cious condition  of  mind  than  the  average  historian  ?  For  of  all 
literary  pursuits  none  on  the  whole  appears  so  naturally  allied 
to  competent  means  and  good  family.  Public  office  and  influ- 
ence, the  making  of  history,  have  belonged  in  most  epochs  before 
our  own  to  the  aristocracy — superior  station  being  usually 
linked  in  the  world's  experiences  to  wealth;  and  it  is  the  scions 
and  kindred  of  those  who  have  been  actors  and  associates  in 
events,  if  not  the  actors  and  associates  themselves,  whose  pens 

*  Francis  Parkman  has  recently  died  at  the  age  of  70,  longer  spared  for 
his  work  than  any  of  those  above  mentioned- 

57 


58  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

describe  past  exploits  most  readily.  These  have  gained  the 
readiest  access  for  their  studies  to  the  public  archives — ran- 
sacking, moreover,  that  private  correspondence  of  illustrious 
leaders  defunct,  which  family  pride  guards  so  jealously  j  and 
with  mingled  urbanity  and  scholarship  they  maintain  the  polish 
of  easy  intercourse  in  the  courtly  circles  of  their  own  times. 
One  ought  to  be  a  man  of  letters  and  liberal  training  for  such 
a  life;  a  close  student,  and  yet,  in  some  sense,  a  person  of  affairs. 
It  costs  long  leisure,  and  money  too,  to  collect  materials  prop- 
erly, while  the  actual  composition  proceeds  in  comparison  but 
slowly.  Nor  are  the  royalties  from  historical  writings,  however 
successful  and  popular,  likely  to  remunerate  one  greatly,  con- 
sidering his  aggregate  outlay ;  but  rather  than  in  any  enhanced 
pecuniary  ease,  his  reward  must  be  looked  for  in  the  distin- 
guished comradeship  of  the  dead  and  of  the  living — in  the 
satisfaction  that  he  has  performed  exalted  labors  faithfully  for 
the  good  of  his  fellowmen,  and  found  them  in  his  own  day 
fairly  appreciated.  Happy  the  historian,  withal,  whom  fame 
or  early  promise  has  helped  into  some  collateral  or  congenial 
employment  of  indirect  advantage  to  his  task. 

Calmness  and  constancy  of  purpose  carry  us  on  steadily  in 
work  of  this  character,  with  powers  of  mind  that  strengthen 
by  habitual  exercise.  It  is  not  brilliancy  of  assault;  it  is  not 
the  pompous  announcement  of  a  narrative  purpose,  that  deter- 
mines the  historian,  but  rather  silent  concentration  and  perse- 
verance. The  story  one  begins  will  never  be  thoroughly  fin- 
ished while  the  world  stands;  and  on  the  one  hand  is  the 
temptation  of  preparing  with  too  much  elaboration  or  fastid- 
iousness to  narrate  rapidly  enough,  and  on  the  other  of  trying 
to  tell  more  than  the  circumscribed  limits  of  preparation  and 
of  personal  capacity  will  permit.  Men  who  are  free  from 
financial  anxieties  will  be  tempted  aside  from  the  incessant 
laborious  work  by  the  seductions  of  pleasure.  Thus  Prescott, 
the  blind  historian,  with  excuses  much  stronger  than  Milton 
ever  had  for  social  ease  and  inaction,  found  himself  compelled 
to  overcome  his  temptations  to  sloth  by  placing  himself  habit- 
ually under  penal  bonds  to  his  secretary  to  prepare  so  many 
pages  by  a  given  time. 

More,  however,  than  the  gift  of  time  and  income  the  world 
will  scarcely  look  for  in  a  literary  man.  It  is  the  publisher, 
rather,  who  projects  encyclopedias  and  huge  reservoirs  of  use- 
ful information  and  who  embarks  large  money  capital  in  the 


HISTORICAL   INDUSTRIES — SCHOULER.  59 

enterprise.  A  few  celebrated  authors,  to  be  sure,  have  figured, 
some  in  a  dormant  sense,  as  publishers  of  their  own  works, 
like  Eichardson,  the  English  novelist,  for  instance,  the  Cham- 
bers brothers,  and  most  disastrously  for  himself.  Sir  Walter 
Scott.  Many  literary  men  of  means  own  their  plates,  while 
putting  firms  forward  to  print  and  publish  for  them  notwith- 
standing. 

But  it  is  reserved,  I  believe,  to  America  and  to  the  present  age 
to  furnish  to  the  world  the  first  unique  example  of  bookseller, 
book  collector,  historian,  and  publisher,  all  combined  in  one, 
whose  fortune  is  devoted  to  the  fulfillment  of  a  colossal  pioneer 
research.  We  must  count,  I  apprehend,  the  living  historian 
of  "the  Pacific  States'^  among  the  wealthy  benefactors  of  our 
higher  learning,  for  that  prolific  brood  of  brown  volumes  such 
as  no  other  historian  from  Herodotus  down  ever  fathered  for 
his  own  can  hardly  have  repaid  their  immense  cost  and  labor 
of  preparation,  even  with  the  ultimate  sale  added  of  the  famous 
library  whose  precious  contents  gave  them  substance. 

Mr.  Bancroft's  "Literary  Industries,"  a  stimulating  and 
well-written  book,  recounts  fully  the  methods  he  employed, 
with  a  corps  of  literary  writers  under  his  personal  direction, 
in  ransacking  the  contents  of  that  huge  library  which  he  after- 
ward sold,  to  furnish  forth  his  own  compendious  treatises  upon 
the  archaeology,  history,  and  ethnology  of  our  Pacific  coast, 
hitherto  but  little  illustrated  by  its  latest  race  of  conquerors. 
And  he  felicitates  himself  that  an  enterprise  otherwise  beyond 
any  one  man's  power  of  execution  was  brought  by  his  own  organ- 
ized efforts  within  the  compass  of  some  thirty  years. 

I  will  not  undertake  any  direct  criticism  of  such  compre- 
hensive methods  as  his,  nor  seek  to  disparage  labors  so  gen- 
erously and  so  successfully  rounded  out  to  a  close.  But  this 
present  age  runs  very  strongly,  as  it  seems  to  me,  and  per- 
haps too  strongly,  to  vast  executive  projects  in  every  depart- 
ment of  human  activity.  We  are  apt  in  consequence  to  sacri- 
fice high  individual  thought  and  mental  creativeness  to  feats 
of  technique  and  organized  mastery;  while  our  trusts,  our  syn- 
dicates, and  combiners  of  capital  seek  so  constantly  to  monopo- 
lize profits  both  moral  and  material  for  themselves,  by  welding 
and  concentrating  the  lesser  resources  of  individuals,  that 
single  endeavor  faints  in  the  unequal  rivalry.  Such  a  develop- 
ment artfully  conducts  the  human  race  back,  sooner  or  later,  to 
a  species  of  slavery  j  it  hands  over  the  many  to  the  patronage 


60  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

of  the  powerful  few ;  and,  unless  checked,  it  must  prove  eventu- 
ally fatal  to  the  spirit  of  manly  emulation.  Just  as  the  surf 
of  property  accumulation  breaks  fitly  at  each  owner's  death 
upon  the  broad  bulwark  of  equal  distribution  among  kindred, 
so  would  it  be  wise,  I  think,  could  public  policy  contrive  by 
some  indirection  to  limit  in  effect  the  achievements  of  a  life- 
time in  every  direction  to  what  fairly  and  naturally  belongs  to 
the  scope  of  that  single  life  in  competition  with  others;  and  at 
the  same  time  that  it  lets  the  greatest  prizes  go  to  the  fittest, 
could  it  but  encourage  each  member  of  society  to  achieve  still 
his  best. 

At  all  events,  if  you  will,  let  huge  engineering,  let  the  prod- 
ucts of  organized  exploit  go  to  increase  the  material  comfort 
of  the  race;  but  for  art,  for  scholarship,  for  literature  and 
religion,  for  whatever  appeals  most  to  imagination  and  the 
moral  life,  I  would  keep  the  freest  play  possible  to  the  indi- 
vidual and  to  individual  effort.  One  forcible  preacher  reaches 
more  hearts  than  the  composite  of  a  hundred  preachers.  And, 
furthermore,  in  gathering  historical  facts  we  should  remember 
that  what  may  be  convenient  for  simple  reference  is  not  equally 
so  for  consecutive  reading.  There  is  a  natural  progression, 
coincident  with  the  stream  of  time,  in  all  history,  all  biography, 
all  fiction;  and  to  attempt  to  read  backward,  or  on  parallel 
lines,  or  by  other  arbitrary  arrangement,  produces  nausea, 
drowsiness,  and  confusion  of  ideas.  In  Washington  Irving's 
grotesque  dream  in  the  British  Museum,  the  bookmakers  at 
their  toilsome  tasks  about  him  seemed  suddenly  transformed 
into  masqueraders,  decking  themselves  out  fantastically  from 
the  literary  clothespr esses  of  the  past  about  them. 

Cooperative  history,  or  the  alliance  of  various  writers  in  one 
description  of  past  events,  is  a  favorite  device  of  publishers  in 
our  later  day  for  producing  volumes  which  may  give  each 
talented  contributor  as  little  personal  exertion  as  possible.  Of 
such  enterprises,  that  which  assigns  to  each  author  his  own 
limited  period  or  range  of  events  is  the  best,  because  the  most 
natural,  and  here  it  is  only  needful  that  each  should  confine 
his  labor  to  his  own  portion,  avoiding  the  dangers  of  compari- 
son. Less  satisfactory,  because  far  more  liable  to  contradic- 
tion and  confusion,  is  that  cooperative  history  which  distributes 
topics,  such  as  the  progress  of  science,  education,  religion,  or 
politics,  for  a  general  and  detached  review,  and  instead  of  any 
proper  narrative  at  all,  supplies  a  mass  of  heterogeneous 


HISTORICAL   INDUSTRIES — SCHOULER.  61 

essays.  The  latest  plan  of  the  kind  which  publishers  have 
brought  to  my  notice  is  history  upon  an  alphabetical  arrange- 
ment, resembling  a  gazetteer,  which  proposes,  of  course,  the 
use  of  scissors  more  than  pen  or  brain.  Mr.  Hubert  Bancroft's 
plan  is  finally  that  of  a  literary  bureau,  with  salaried  workers 
more  or  less  trained  over  whom  presides  the  one  nominal  his- 
torian. 

In  this  nineteenth  century  you  may  thus  see  historical 
chasms  bridged  and  jungles  once  impenetrable  laid  open  to 
the  sunlight.  But  where  can  one  safely  define  here  the  limits 
of  original  authorship  ?  At  what  point  does  the  elucidation 
of  facts  rise  above  the  dignity  of  manual  labor?  And  how  far, 
in  fine,  may  you  trust  the  chief  executive  of  such  an  enter- 
prise, for  his  responsible  scholarship,  rather  than  merely  as 
the  editor  of  a  vast  compilation,  or  as  one  who  rubs  into  shape 
and  gives  a  literary  gloss  to  materials  of  doubtful  authen- 
ticity? 

Let  me  address  myself  rather  to  the  encouragement  of 
that  great  majority  of  historical  students  and  writers  whose 
purpose  it  is  to  accomplish,  and  to  accomplish  conscientiously, 
results  which  may  fairly  be  comprehended  within  the  space 
of  a  single  and  unaided  human  life.  Even  they  who  plead 
most  forcibly  for  cooperative  investigation  in  history  distinctly 
recognize  the  advantage  of  unity  in  research  and  expression; 
and  they  concede  that,  where  one  may  master  his  own  subject 
seasonably  enough,  the  single  skilled  workman  is  preferable  to 
the  many.  For  my  own  part,  not  meaning  to  boast,  but  to 
encourage  others,  I  may  say,  that  legal  and  historical  works, 
the  one  kind  by  way  of  relief  to  the  other,  have  fairly  occupied 
me  for  twenty-five  years,  with  no  inconsiderable  ground  cov- 
ered in  their  publication.  Another  writer  may  produce  better 
solid  books  than  I  have  done,  but  he  will  hardly  be  moved  to 
produce  a  greater  number  within  the  same  space  of  time,  or  to 
preempt  a  wider  range  of  research.  Whether  it  be  from  an 
innate  distrust  of  hired  subworkers,  or  for  economy's  sake,  or 
from  the  pride  of  responsible  authorship,  or  because  of  habits 
which  I  early  formed  in  life  of  concentrating  and  warming 
into  interest  wherever  I  personally  investigated,  or  whether, 
indeed,  from  all  these  considerations  combined,  I  never  em- 
ployed literary  assistance  of  any  sort,  except  for  sharing 
in  the  drudgery  of  index  making,  for  copying  out  my  rough 
drafts  in  a  neat  hand  for  my  own  convenient  revision,  and  for 


62  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

transcribing  passages  from  other  books  which  I  had  first 
selected.  And  once  only,  when  engaging  my  amanuensis  (a 
very  intelligent  man)  where  historical  controversy  had  arisen 
upon  a  minor  point,  to  examine  and  collate  the  accounts  of 
various  old  newspapers,  I  found,  upon  reviewing  his  work, 
that  he  had  overlooked  a  single  circumstance  among  these 
numerous  descriptions  which  was  almost  decisive  of  the  issue. 

In  fine,  every  real  research,  where  I  have  published,  and 
every  page  of  composition,  has  been  my  own ;  and  having  reg- 
ularly contracted  with  my  publishers  to  create  a  book,  instead 
of  hawking  about  its  manuscript  when  completed,  and  having 
always  been  permitted,  when  ready,  to  hand  my  copy  to 
the  printers  without  submitting  it  to  any  mortal's  inspection, 
I  have  pursued  my  own  bent,  in  shaping  out  the  task  as 
I  had  first  projected  it.  I  have  shown  my  manuscript  to  no 
one  at  all  for  criticism  or  approval,  nor  have  I  received  sug- 
gestions, in  any  volume,  even  as  to  literary  style  or  expression, 
except  upon  printed  sheets  from  the  casual  proof  reader,  as 
the  book  went  finally  through  the  press. 

The  counsel  of  genuine  and  disinterested  literary  friends,  if 
you  are  fortunate  enough  to  have  them,  is  doubtless  sweet  and 
stimulating  J  and  for  the  want  of  it  a  book  will  often  suffer  in 
matters  of  expression,  as  well  as  of  fact.  But  the  recompense, 
on  the  other  side,  comes  after  a  time,  in  one's  own  confirmed 
skill,  self-confidence,  individuality,  and  the  power  to  dispatch; 
and  often  as  I  have  reproached  myself  for  little  slips  of  lan- 
guage (revising  and  even  altering  my  plates,  upon  opportu- 
nity), I  have  seldom  seen  reason  to  change  the  record  or  color- 
ing of  historical  events,  and  never  an  important  deduction. 

Instead,  then,of  employing  other  per  sons,  trained  or  untrained, 
to  elaborate  or  help  me  out  with  the  responsible  task  of  author- 
ship, I  have  sought,  as  the  most  trustworthy  of  expert  assist- 
ance, where  such  aids  were  needful,  the  labors  of  accomplished 
scholars  who  had  gone  through  the  ordeal  of  authorship  before 
me.  Books  and  authors,  in  fact,  I  have  employed  for  special 
investigators,  and  an  amanuensis  for  amanuensis  work  alone. 
Original  records  and  information  are  preferable  to  all  others; 
but  secondary  sources  of  knowledge  I  have  largely  accepted 
as  a  labor-saving  means,  where  I  could  bring  my  own  accumu- 
lated knowledge  and  habits  of  verification  to  bear  upon  them, 
so  as  to  judge  fairly  of  their  comparative  worth.  I  have  not 
disemboweled  nor  redistributed  their  contents;   but  I  have 


HISTORICAL   INDUSTEIES — SCHOULER. 


63 


learned  to  dip  into  them  for  the  quintessence  of  information 
they  could  best  impart.  To  all  authors,  to  all  earlier  investi- 
gators, I  have  applied  diligently  whatever  materials  of  conse- 
quence were  inaccessible  to  them,  or  derived  from  my  own  later 
more  advantageous  study. 

Special  assistance,  I  admit,  may  be  very  valuable  when  of 
an  expert  character.  Eminent  historians  who  have  university 
pupils — eminent  barristers  as  patrons  of  the  shy  and  briefless — 
often  employ  junior  minds,  well-trained  young  men  of  poverty 
and  ambition,  upon  the  drudgery  of  their  own  more  affluent 
investigation.  In  lawsuits  the  judge  will  often  put  out  the 
analysis  of  complicated  facts  at  issue  to  some  member  of  the 
bar,  to  investigate  as  auditor  and  make  a  report  which  shall 
stand  as  prima  facie  evidence  of  the  truth.  Much  the  same 
confidence  may  you  repose  in  the  pubhshed  monograph  of 
some  reputable  historical  scholar,  if  you  desire  economy  of 
labor.  Such  assistance  is  trained  already  for  your  purpose, 
and  one  obvious  advantage  of  employing  it  is  that  you  may 
cite  the  author  and  throw  the  responsibility  of  your  assertion 
upon  his  shoulders. 

Yet,  after  all,  one  should  be  prepared  to  do  most  of  his  own 
drudgery,  for  nine-tenths  of  all  the  successful  achievements  in 
life,  as  it  has  been  well  observed,  consist  in  drudgery.  What- 
ever subordinate  or  expert  assistance,  then,  may  be  called  in 
by  the  responsible  historian,  let  him  always  reserve  the  main 
investigation  to  himself.  In  no  other  way  can  he  rightfully 
blazon  his  name  upon  the  title-page  of  his  book,  or  approach 
the  true  ideals  of  excellence  and  thoroughness.  The  trained 
assistance  one  employs  with  only  a  mercenary  interest  in  the 
study  accomplishes  but  little,  after  all,  as  compared  with  the 
one  mind  inspired  for  its  task,  which  concentrates  the  best  of 
its  God-given  powers  upon  precisely  what  it  seeks,  and  gains 
in  skill,  quickness,  and  accuracy  by  constant  exercise. 

Judgment  and  intuition  may  thus  move  rapidly  forward  and 
seize  upon  results.  The  student  absorbed  in  his  subject  brings 
to  bear  at  every  step  of  preliminary  study  his  own  discrimin- 
ation, analysis,  and  comparison,  qualities  which  he  can  never 
safely  delegate;  even  in  crude  facts  he  is  saved  the  alternative 
of  accepting  promiscuous  heaps  from  journeymen  at  second 
hand,  or  of  verifying  personally  their  labor,  which  is  the  worst 
toilsomeness  of  all.  And  it  is  by  thus  throwing  himself  into 
the  very  times  of  which  he  treats  and  becoming  enveloped  in 


f 

64  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

its  atmosphere  that  the  narrator  may  hope  to  kindle  his 
own  imagination  and  grow  deeply  sympathetic  with  his  sub- 
ject. Fiery  phrases,  pictorial  hints,  startling  details,  sugges- 
tions of  eifect  meet  here  and  there  his  quick,  artistic  eye, 
which  a  subordinate  would  never  have  discovered  among  the 
dull  rubbish  of  surrounding  circumstances.  Pen  and  memory 
learn  to  aid  one  another  in  the  exploration;  one  needs  to 
abstract  nothing  from  the  books  which  serve  him  as  a  basis, 
nothing,  indeed,  anywhere,  but  what  may  best  aid  his  imme- 
diate purpose.  The  drift  of  long  correspondence,  speeches, 
and  documents  of  merely  subsidiary  value,  he  gathers  at  a 
glance  and  a  few  trenchant  passages  will  serve  for  his  quota- 
tion. 

What  self-directing  scholar  has  not  felt  his  pulse  quicken 
and  his  heart  beat  high  when  in  such  close  communion  with 
the  great  actors  and  thinkers  of  the  past,  or  as  he  reads  con- 
temporary reports  of  the  event,  and  lives  transactions  over 
again  amid  their  original  surroundings  ?  And,  if  in  such  per- 
sonal exploits  among  the  buried  cities,  new  pregnant  facts, 
new  points  of  view  are  revealed  corrective  of  prevailing  mis- 
conceptions, if  some  sudden  insight  into  motives,  public  or 
personal,  lights  up  his  lonely  induction,  how  does  the  soul 
dilate  with  that  greatest  of  all  the  triumphs  of  research — the 
triumph  of  discovery. 

Nor  let  it  be  said,  as  an  objection  to  such  expenditures  of 
time,  that  an  economizing  historian  ought  to  reserve  his  best 
strength  for  the  loftier  task  of  arrangement  and  final  compo- 
sition. Let  us  not  turn  literary  skill  to  meretricious  uses ;  let 
us  beware  how  we  steer  blindly  among  conflicting  statements, 
or  accept  for  facts  what  only  our  paid  pupils  have  collected. 
Due  preparation  is  no  less  essential  to  the  historian  than  the 
art  of  telling  his  story;  for  he  has  never  of  right  the  free 
range  of  his  imagination.  There  should  be  a  time  to  study 
and  a  time  to  compose;  the  one  task  should  aid  and  alternate 
with  the  other.  Nothing,  I  am  sure,  so  relieves  a  laborious 
literary  life  as  to  diversify  its  pursuits— to  change  the  sub- 
ject or  the  mode  of  occupation.  And  in  historical  literature, 
if  we  would  save  ourselves  the  excessive  strain  which  soon 
exhausts,  let  us  turn  the  pen  which  has  been  vigorously 
•employed  for  a  sufficient  time  upon  the  narrative  to  prosaic 
annotation  and  abstracts.  Let  us  leave  the  recital  of  results 
for  one  chapter  or  volume  to  gather  material  and  study  for  the 


HISTORICAL   INDUSTRIES — SCHOULER. 


65 


next.  We  need  not  fear  to  roam  the  broad  fields  of  investiga- 
tion over,  if  we  hold  fixedly  to  our  purpose.  The  bee  culls 
sweetness  from  the  flower-cups  before  treading  out  the  honey  j 
and  the  indolence  which  every  investigator  should  chiefly 
guard  against  is  that  of  subsiding  into  the  intellectual  pleas- 
ure of  filling  and  refilling  his  mental  pouch  for  his  own  delec- 
tation, while  never  setting  himself  to  manufacture  that  others 
may  derive  a  profit. 

As  a  most  important  means  of  economizing  time  and  personal 
labor,  we  should  fix  clearly  in  advance  the  general  scope  and 
direction  we  mean  to  pursue,  and  then  adhere  to  it,  limiting  the 
range  of  investigation  accordingly.  Authorship  in  history 
requires  resolution  and  an  intelligent  purpose  besides,  in  the 
development  of  the  original  plan  throughout  its  entire  length 
and  breadth.  For  as  the  area  of  mental  research  is  of  itself 
boundless,  the  individual  should  fence  off  for  himself  only  a 
certain  portion.  Chance  and  opportunity  may  unquestionably 
lead  us  on  from  one  task  of  exploration  to  another.  We  may, 
like  Gibbon,  carry  our  work  purposely  to  a  given  point,  and 
then  leave  a  still  further  advance  to  depend  upon  health  and 
favoring  circumstances.  Or,  as  Prescott,  Motley,  and  Parkman 
have  done,  we  may  let  one  dramatic  episode  when  fairly  com- 
passed and  set  forth  conduct  to  another  and  kindred  one  so 
as  eventually  to  group  out  the  lifers  occupation,  whether  longer 
or  shorter,  into  one  symmetrical  whole.  But  to  attack  moun- 
tains of  huge  material  blindly  without  a  just  estimate  of  life 
and  physical  capabilities,  can  bring  only  despair  and  prema- 
ture exhaustion. 

It  is  not  strange  at  all  if,  after  announcing  and  planning  a 
work  of  so  many  pages  or  volumes,  you  find  the  burden  of 
materials  increasing  on  your  hands  j  but  you  are  a  novice  in 
book  architecture,  if,  nevertheless,  you  can  not  build  according 
to  the  plan ;  and  you  are  certainly  the  worst  of  blunderers  if  you 
throw  the  superabundant  materials  blindly  into  form  as  they 
come  and  still  strive  to  erect  by  contract  as  a  cottage  what 
should  have  been  only  undertaken  for  a  castle.  In  all  literary 
workmanship,  or  at  least  in  historical,  there  should  be  specifi- 
cations, and  the  specifications  should  correspond  with  the 
plan;  the  rule  and  compasses  should  be  applied  so  as  to  give 
due  proportion  to  every  part  of  the  work.  In  the  lesser  details 
one  must  be  prepared  to  compress,  to  sacrifice,  to  omit,  and  no 
reader  will  miss  what  is  judiciously  left  out  as  does  the  author 
himself. 

S.  Mis.  104 5 


$ 

66  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

By  thus  keeping  within  one's  intended  space,  as  carefully 
mapped  out  in  advance — and  I  would  advise  every  projector  of 
a  book  to  get  practical  suggestions  from  his  publisher,  and 
then  clearly  settle  as  to  size  and  subject  before  he  tackles  to 
the  task — by  thus  doing  we  circumscribe  at  once  the  field  of 
investigation;  and  by  apprehending  well  that  in  which  we 
mean  to  be  impressive  or  original,  by  conceiving  fitly  our  main 
purpose  in  authorship,  we  are  prepared  to  apply  ourselves  to 
the  real  service  of  our  age.  Some  writers  set  their  minds  to 
work  upon  manuals,  upon  abridgment  of  what  they  find  at 
hand  for  a  certain  period  and  country,  some  upon  amplifying; 
but  no  one  should  undertake  to  narrate  history  with  the  same 
fullness  as  one  who  has  told  the  tale  before,  unless  he  is  confi- 
dent that  he  can  truthfully  put  the  facts  in  a  new  light  or  add 
something  really  valuable,  which  has  not  been  already  set 
forth  elsewhere. 

Let  it  be  admitted,  in  fine,  in  all  historical  writing,  that  much 
patient  and  minute  study  must  be  bestowed  for  one's  own  per- 
sonal gratification  alone;  that  one  may  spread  the  results 
before  his  readers,  but  not  the  processes.  Whatever  the  histo- 
rian may  print  and  publish  for  the  edification  of  the  public,  let 
him  endeavor  to  make  the  result  apparent  for  which  he  pros- 
pected; let  him  tell  the  tale,  unfold  the  particulars,  and  incul- 
cate the  lesson,  with  the  pertinence  and  force  which  best  befit 
the  character  of  his  undertaking;  and  let  him  show  his  essen- 
tial excellence  precisely  where  the  public  has  the  most  right 
to  expect  and  desire  it. 


VII.-THE  HISTORICAL  METHOD  OF  WRITING  THE  HISTORY  OF 
CHRISTIAN  DOCTRINE. 


By   PROF.   CHARLES    J.  LITTLE, 

OF  GARRETT  BIBLICAL  I:NSTITUTE. 


67 


THE    HISTORICAL   METHOD    OF    WRITING  THE    HISTORY  OF 
CHRISTIAN  DOCTRINE. 


By  Charles  J.  Little. 


"  Gibbon^s  Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Eoman  Empire,"  wrote 
Dean  Stanley,  "is  in  great  part,  however  reluctantly,  the  his- 
tory of  the  rise  and  progress  of  the  Christian  Church.  His 
true  conception  of  the  grandeur  of  his  subject  extorted  from 
him  that  just  concession  which  his  own  natural  prejudice  would 
have  refused  5  and  it  was  remarked  not  many  years  ago  by  Dr. 
Newman  that  up  to  that  time  England  had  produced  no  other 
ecclesiastical  history  worthy  of  the  name." 

I  place  these  words  at  the  head  of  this  brief  paper  because, 
in  the  first  place,  the  notions  of  intelligent  men  (excepting,  of 
course,  clergymen  and  historical  students)  concerning  the  de- 
velopment of  Christianity  are  derived,  so  far  as  they  are  drawn 
from  books  at  all,  almost  exclusively  from  secular  history  j  and 
because,  secondly,  the  striking  historical  productions  of  the 
nineteenth  century  have  either  reluctantly  or  willingly  tended 
more  and  more  to  include  religious  phenomena  in  their  descrip- 
tions and  discussions.  l!^ow  "it  is  not,"  as  Bacon  says,  "the  lie 
that  passeth  through  the  mind,  but  the  lie  that  sinketh  in  and 
settleth  in  it  that  doth  the  hurt."  And  the  lie  that  sinketh 
in  and  settleth  in  the  mind  is  the  lie  that  is  insinuated  rather 
than  uttered,  the  lie  that  is  suggested  sometimes  in  the  candor 
of  innocent  but  unwarranted  belief,  and  sometimes  with  the 
rhetorical  subtlety  of  consummate  partisanship  rather  than 
the  lie  of  brute  ignorance  or  sectarian  spleen.  When,  for 
instance,  Mr.  Buckle  published  his  famous  examination  of  the 
Scottish  intellect  of  the  seventeenth  century,  most  readers 
accepted  his  conclusions  touching  the  character  of  the  Scotch 
clergy  because  of  the  multitude  of  his  citations,  hardly  think- 
ing of  the  existence  even  of  the  facts  that  he  did  not  state.  In 
like  manner,  when  one  reads  that  skillful  and  adroitly  insinu- 
ating book,  Jansen's  "Geschichte  des  Deutschen  Yolkes,"one 


I 

70  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

is  aware,  at  the  last,  of  a  bad  taste  in  the  mouth  which  is  not 
easily  traceable  to  particular  pages  or  even  to  particular 
statements. 

This  effect  is  most  to  be  deprecated  in  the  minds  of  the  young, 
for  impressions  thus  almost  insensibly  acquired  lie  in  their 
memories  latent  but  indestructible,  yet  coloring  stealthily  all 
their  future  thought.  Histories  of  the  church ,  whether  histories 
of  structure  or  histories  of  doctrine,  when  written  from  secta- 
rian points  of  view  and  avowedly  to  accomplish  sectarian  ends, 
are  easily  dealt  with  by  intelligent  men.  They  can  be  read 
with  suspicion  J,  their  citations  can  be  verified  with  scrupulous 
care  5  the  facts  forgotten  and  omitted  by  their  authors  can  with 
industry  be  supplied.  But  the  ecclesiastical  portions  of  a 
secular  history  are  more  difficult  to  deal  with,  for  these  seem 
to  be  merely  incidental  or  at  most  collateral  to  the  main  trunk 
of  the  narrative.  Only  slowly  does  the  reader  become  aware 
that  what  seems  incidental  is  really  the  lifeblood  of  the  book, 
for  when  he  takes  a  secular  history  in  his  hand  he  is  expect- 
ing nothing  of  the  kind.  Indeed,  the  impossibility  of  writing 
European  history,  in  the  true  sense  of  the  term,  without  dealing 
with  the  development  of  Christian  ideas,  without  dealing,  on 
the  one  hand,  with  their  progressive  conquest  of  a  succession 
of  alien  environments,  and,  on  the  other  hand,  with  their  occa- 
sional submergence,  with  their  frequent  transformations,  and 
their  surprising  modifications  under  the  influence  of  these  alien 
surroundings,  seems  curiously  enough  never  to  have  dawned 
fally  upon  anyone  until  it  forced  itself  upon  Gibbon's  powerful 
mind.  Gibbon's  influence  worked,  however,  both  directly  and 
indirectly  in  a  variety  of  ways.  It  inspired  scholars  like 
Guizot  to  a  closer  study  of  Christian  ideas  and  Christian  insti- 
tutions upon  the  development  of  European  society;  it  inspired 
broad-minded  churchmen  like  Arnold,  Milman,  and  Stanley 
to  a  closer  study  of  secular  society,  to  a  more  careful  exam- 
ination of  the  external  conditions  amid  which  the  Gospel  of 
the  Galilean  was  compelled  to  live  and  to  develop  its  colossal 
and  divergent  forms.  It  led  men  like  Buckle  and  Lecky  and 
Draper  to  their  elaborate  and  splendid  defenses  of  a  rational 
skepticism,  while  it  stimulated  in  its  ultimate  effect  men  like 
John  Eichard  Green  to  the  writing  of  histories  in  which  "more 
space  should  be  given  to  a  Methodist  revival  than  to  the  escape 
of  a  young  pretender." 

This  influence  of  Gibbon,  combined  with  that  of  the  great 


I 


HISTORY    OF   CHRISTIAN   DOCTRINE LITTLE.  71 

movement  in  Germany  begun  by  Lessing  and  by  Herder,  has 
so  changed  the  character  of  historical  writing  that  now,  when- 
ever any  large  portion  of  Christian  society  is  treated  of,  there 
is  involved  implicitly  some  theory  of  the  development  of  Chris- 
tian doctrine  and  Christian  life.  And  it  happens  often  that 
these  theories  are  more  effective  (sometimes  unintentionally  so) 
than  they  would  be  if  stated  openly  and  urged  aggressively. 
But  since  this  broadening  of  the  lines  of  secular  history,  like 
the  corresponding  broadening  of  the  scope  of  ecclesiastical 
history,  is  not  only  proper  but  highly  valuable  and  even  neces- 
sary, the  only  right  conclusion  to  draw  in  the  premises  is  this : 
The  scientific  study  of  the  development  of  Christian  doctrine 
is  now  essential  to  the  training  of  a  historical  scholar.  It  is 
no  less  absurd  for  him  to  depend  upon  a  fortuitous  concourse 
of  impressions  for  the  phases  through  which  Christian  teach- 
ings have  passed  than  it  is  for  him  to  accept,  without  conscious 
and  protracted  investigation,  the  sediments  of  his  reading 
touching  the  political  transformations  or  the  political  institu- 
tions of  a  people  whose  history  he  affects  to  study.  Walter 
Bagehot  pointed  out,  with  the  touch  of  genius,  the  striking  con- 
trast betweeif  the  accepted  literary  theory  and  the  actual  work- 
ing of  the  English  constitution.  But  such  contrasts  of  literary 
theory  with  existing  reality  are  not  confined  to  the  political 
aspect  of  historical  literature;  its  religious  aspect  is  marked 
quite  as  conspicuously  with  them.  And  there  is  but  one  way 
to  avoid  them — the  way  of  all  science — a  continual  returning 
to  the  reality.  And  the  realities  of  history  are  the  documents 
and  remnants  of  the  past,  together  with  the  abiding  physical 
environment  within  the  limits  of  which  these  antiquities  and 
monuments  and  records  were  at  first  produced.  In  spite  of 
Mr.  Froude  I  venture  to  believe  that  there  is  a  science  of 
history;  and  a  correct  definition  of  scientific  history,  it  seems 
to  me,  is  not  so  hopelessly  difiBcult.  The  science  of  history 
has  for  its  object  the  discovery  and  verbal  representation  of 
the  necessary  antecedent  phases  of  existing  social  phenomena. 
The  laws  of  social  phenomena  are  operative  always;  to  find 
these  is  the  work  of  the  sociologist.  But  to  make  out  from  the 
data  that  exist  in  the  present  so  much  of  the  past  as  is  neces- 
sary to  the  explanation  of  the  society  of  the  present  is  the  work 
of  the  scientific  historian.  If,  now,  this  be  true,  then  surely 
his  first  business  is  to  know  thoroughly  the  phenomena  that 
he  seeks  to  explain,  for  his  reconstruction  must  be  regressive, 


72  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

not  progressive  J  it  must  be  a  movement  backward  from  the 
the  known  data  at  hand  to  the  discoverable  fact  no  longer 
visible  and  tangible;  albeit  for  purposes  of  intelligible  and 
vivid  exposition  he  may  be  permitted  to  invert  this  order  of 
investigation  when  he  comes  to  set  forth  his  conclusions. 

Now,  I  venture  to  ask,  have  religious  phenomena  in  our 
modern  historical  writing  been  always  treated  in  this  scientific 
spirit?  Would  it  be  altogether  impossible  to  name  books  of 
even  great  reputation  in  which  religious  phenomena  are 
explained  that  never  had  an  existence,  or  books  in  which 
the  part  is  given  for  the  whole,  or  books  in  which  fact  and 
conjecture  are  interwoven  so  inextricably  that  the  total 
impression  is  quite  misleading,  or  books  in  which  the  chron- 
ological sequence  of  events  is  so  neglected  or  so  disordered 
as  to  disturb  hopelessly  their  causal  relations'?  Moreover, 
have  we  not  been  and  are  we  not  continually  exposed  to  the 
perils  of  a  very  arrogant  subjectivity?  Gibbon  and  Car- 
lyle  are  surely  not  the  only  sinners  of  their  kind.  If  none 
appear  able  to  bend  the  bow  of  Ulysses,  many  indeed  appear 
to  try  it.  Then,  again,  is  there  not  a  tendency  in  a  multi- 
tude of  writers  to  assume  without  special  study  the  posses- 
sion of  an  acquaintance  with  the  great  phases  of  the  devel- 
opment of  Christian  life  and  Christian  ideas?  With  what 
easy  presumption  do  they  not  express  opinions  upon  the  early 
church  and  the  development  of  its  beliefs,  upon  the  struggles, 
intellectual  and  political,  which  led  up  to  the  creed  formations 
of  the  oecumenical  councils,  with  the  speculations  of  mediae- 
val philosophy,  and  with  the  varied  mental  and  spiritual  life 
that  issued  in  the  creeds  of  the  reformation  periods?  And 
yet  how  inadequate  a  knowledge  have  they  too  often  of  the  com- 
plex environment  within  which  these  creeds  and  this  philosophy 
were  produced !  How  slight  an  acquaintance  even  with  the 
chronology  of  their  antecedents !  Nevertheless,  we  hear  them 
passing  judgment  upon  the  character  and  motives  of  those 
who  contributed  to  these  marvelous  constructions  and  repeat- 
ing judgments  upon  the  society,  in  the  midst  of  which  they 
were  produced,  such  as  make  the  conscientious  historical 
scholar  reflect  with  reluctant  approval  upon  Napoleon's  defi- 
nition of  history  as  ^'une  fable  convenueJ^  I  know  how  much 
I  am  demanding.  Scratch  any  man  of  intelligence  and  you 
soon  discover  a  religious  animal.  Men  betray  their  interest  in 
religion  even  by  their  opposition  to  it.    To  ask  the  student  to 


HISTORY   OF    CHRISTIAN   DOCTRINE — LITTLE. 


73 


strip  himself  of  inherited  religious  tendencies  or  of  acquired 
religious  convictions,  positive  or  negative,  as  a  preparation 
for  the  candid  study  of  historical  phenomena  is  like  asking  him 
to  take  off  his  flesh  and  to  sit  in  his  bones.  It  is  asking  him  to 
take  off  his  emotions  and  to  sit  in  his  intellect.  Few,  indeed, 
are  those  who  can  lay  aside  even  the  training  of  the  school  and 
the  influence  of  the  social  medium.  In  fact,  for  men  to  act  as 
pure  intellect  has  proved  almost  impossible  in  those  depart- 
ments of  investigation  where  the  emotions  are  least  involved ; 
yet,  difficult  as  it  is,  science,  who  is  a  jealous  divinity,  requires 
of  her  servants  precisely  this  achievement  j  nor  is  the  altar  of 
history  less  worthy  of  the  sacriflce  than  any  other  altar  in  her 
mighty  temple.  To  this  end  the  scientific  historian  must  return 
again  and  again  to  the  realities  of  history,  to  the  documents 
and  monuments  by  which  alone  he  can  rectify  his  impressions 
and  nowhere  are  these  impressions  of  greater  importance  that 
when  they  relate  to  the  religious  life  and  the  spiritual  beliefs 
of  civilized  mankind. 

And  I  repeat  it  is  impossible  in  our  day  to  treat  historically 
of  any  large  section  of  Christian  society  without  involving 
oneself  in  the  discussion  of  some  phase  of  Christian  doctrine 
and  Christian  belief.  Nor  is  it  enough  for  the  writer  to  desig- 
nate his  point  of  view  and  thus  absolve  himself  calmly  from 
the  duty  and  necessity  of  personal  investigation.  Hypotheses, 
frankly  stated  and  severely  tested,  are  as  admissible  in  his- 
torical as  they  are  in  physical  science.  But  the  aim  of  science 
is  truth,  not  the  preservation  of  tradition;  the  discovery  of 
what  is  and  what  has  been,  not  the  perpetuation  of  points  of 
view;  it  is  the  ultimate  concord  of  opinion  upon  all  great  sub- 
jects, not  the  consecration  of  discord  by  high-sounding  names. 

IN'ow  I  know  that  the  secular  historian  upon  whom  the  inci- 
dence of  this  paper  seems  to  bear  has  an  easy  retort  for  his 
ecclesiastical  brother — "  Tw  quoque,^^  "Thou  art  even  worse 
than  I,"  rises  easily  to  his  lips.  I  shall  not  attempt  any  defense. 
In  many  instances  it  would,  I  fear,  be  impossible  to  defend  the 
ecclesiastical  historian  with  success.  For,  in  many  instances, 
he  is  not  only  sadly  ignorant  of  the  secular  environment,  with- 
out which  it  is  impossible  for  him  to  interpret  properly  the 
documents  that  he  studies,  but,  such  have  been  the  defects  of 
his  training,  that  he  is  ignorant  often  of  the  details  of  their 
genesis,  and,  consequently,  of  their  real  significance.  It  is  per- 
haps too  much  to  say,  with  the  late  Edwin  Hatch,  "That  the 


74  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Study  of  Christian  history  is  almost  wholly  virgin  soil,"  and 
yet  the  paradox  contains,  I  fear,  a  grain  too  much  of  truth. 
<*  There  are,"  he  continued,  "thousands  upon  thousands  of  his- 
tories; there  have  been  hundreds  upon  hundreds  of  historians ; 
but  for  all  that,  the  fields  of  Christian  history  are  new,  as  until 
recently  all  fields  of  history  were  new,  because  they  need  new 
research  and  the  application  of  new  methods.  The  past  of 
Christianity  has  been  studied  for  the  most  part  so  far  as  a  col- 
lection of  antiquities  or  a  collection  of  biographies.  Ecclesias- 
tical histories  are  for  the  most  part  either  museums  or  biographi- 
cal dictionaries.  But  that  which  lies  before  the  earnest  and 
candid  student,  as  an  object  of  supreme  and  absorbing  impor- 
tance, is  the  discovery  of  the  nature  of  Christianity;  its  rela- 
tion to  the  whole  mass  of  contemporary  facts;  the  attitude  of 
mind  in  which  successive  generations  have  stood  to  this  origi- 
nal Christianity;  and  the  causes  of  those  attitudes.  This  is  a 
study  as  vast  as  it  is  interesting;  the  final  results  are  not  for  us 
or  for  our  time.  But  there  are  general  results  which  may  come 
to  us  in  our  time  apart  from  the  final  results  which  are  yet  on 
an  unseen  horizon."  If,  in  quoting  these  words  of  Dr.  Hatch,  I 
seem  to  concede  that  those  whose  special  province  it  is  to  dis- 
cover and  to  disclose  the  successive  phases  through  which  origi- 
nal Christianity  has  passed,  are  only  at  the  beginning  of  their 
tremendous  task,  I  feel  compelled  to  add  that  this  is  all  the  more 
reason  why  those  who  deal  from  the  secular  side  with  phases  of 
Christian  belief  should  be  both  humble  and  wary,  and  to  add 
further  that  the  reproach  of  the  ecclesiastical  historian  is  rap- 
idly passing  away.  This  is  the  age  of  scholars,  like  Lightfoot 
and  Hatch  and  Harnack.  The  latter  have  taught  us — the  Eng- 
lishman by  the  minuteness  of  his  observation ;  by  his  scrupulous 
anxiety  to  overlook  nothing  of  importance;  by  the  more  than 
human  industry  with  which  he  sought  out  fact;  and  by  the 
almost  divine  calmness  with  which  he  accepted  truth;  by  the 
swift  and  steady  movement  of  his  reason  and  by  the  fullness  of 
his  charity;  and  the  German  by  the  vastness  of  his  knowledge; 
by  the  swiftness  of  his  insight;  by  the  grandeur  and  accuracy 
of  his  combinations;  by  his  sympathy  with  every  age  and  every 
form  of  earnest  thought— that  the  historical  writer  of  the  future 
need  not  be,  unless  he  is  willfully  so,  ignorant  any  longer  of 
the  crises  through  which  Christian  belief  has  passed  in  its 
progress  to  our  time.  For  these  and  many  others  with  them 
have  worked,  not  as  iconoclasts,  but  as  discoverers ;  not  as  apol- 


HISTORY   OF    CHRISTIAN    DOCTRINE — LITTLE. 


75 


ogists,  but  as  investigators ;  not  to  preserve  or  to  destroy  tradi- 
tions or  institutions,  but  to  discern  the  ways  of  God  in  human 
history,  leaving  these  ways  to  justify  themselves  to  mortal 
men.  They,  in  the  beautiful  language  of  one  who  carried  glo- 
riously the  spirit  and  "substance  of  a  passing  system  into  the 
forms  of  future  power — they  have  obtained  a  good  report,  but 
have  not  obtained  the  promise,  for  without  us  they  can  not  be 
made  perfect."  Only  as  we  who  believe  in  a  science  of  history 
avail  ourselves  of  their  results  to  complete  our  training  and 
our  studies,  only  as  we  enlarge  our  minds  by  breathing  their 
spirit,  only  as  we  increase  our  skill  by  applying  their  methods 
and  our  power  by  making  use  of  their  discoveries,  shall  we 
see  wisdom  justified  of  her  children  and  make  it  appear  that 
the  masters  have  not  wrought  in  vain. 


1^ 


VIII -THE  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  THE  HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE 

IN  AMERICA. 


By  PROF.  EPHRAIM  EMERTON, 

OF  HARVARD  UNIYERSITT. 


77 


THE   REQUIREMENTS   FOR  THE   HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE  IN 

AMERICA. 


By  Ephraim  Emerton. 


The  degree  of  doctor  of  philosophy  is  to  the  scholar  by  far 
the  most  important  of  our  academic  distinctions.  The  bach- 
elor's degree  has  long  ceased  to  have  any  distinctive  meaning. 
The  master  in  arts  was  until  recently  the  object  of  deserved 
ridicule  and,  in  spite  of  all  efforts  to  restore  him  to  respect,  he 
still  remains  an  ill-defined  being,  of  whom  nothing  in  particu- 
lar can  be  predicated.  The  term  "doctor  of  philosophy" 
alon  represents,  at  least  to  the  mind  of  scholars,  something 
tolerably  definite  and  worthy  of  preservation.  It  owes  this 
distinction  partly  to  its  newness.  It  is  in  the  stage  when  an 
institution  must  justify  itself  or  be  lost.  Unhappily  the  tend- 
ency to  take  the  shadow  for  the  substance,  which  has  been  so 
great  an  injury  to  all  American  education,  is  beginning  to 
make  itself  felt  here,  and  we  are  already  forced  into  an  attitude 
of  defense  if  we  would  maintain  for  our  only  useful  higher 
degree  the  meaning  it  ought  to  have. 

This  specific  meaning  of  the  philosophical  doctorate  should 
be  that  it  represent  at  least  two  years  of  continuous  study 
after  the  attainment  of  the  highest  baccalaureate  that  can  he 
got,  that  this  study  be  directed  into  some  special  field  of 
scholarship,  be  conducted  under  the  leadership  of  men  who 
are  themselves  specialists  in  that  field  and  be  not  interrupted 
by  other  occupations  of  any  sort.  Its  method  must  be  mainly 
that  of  research,  in  distinction  from  that  of  acquisition,  and  its 
aim  must  be  the  gain  of  power  as  well  as  the  gain  of  knowl- 


The  evils  from  which  the  degree  has  at  present  suffered  are, 
the  granting  ^^  causa  honoris,''^  the  granting  "tw  absentia^'''' 
insufficient  time  for  the  study  and  insufficient  equipment  for 
its  proper  pursuit.  In  some  quarters  the  granting  of  the 
degree    for  "independent"  work  done  at  a  distance  from 

79 


# 

so  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

academic  resources  and  by  men  engaged  in  the  practice  of 
other  professions  is  openly  advocated  as  the  best  means  of 
extending  the  usefulness  of  the  doctorate.  In  other  cases  it  is 
given  for  a  book  written,  or  for  other  service  rendered  to  the 
cause  of  learning,  or,  as  in  a  case  I  heard  of  recently,  to  a 
man  who  might  well  have  done  some  such  service,  if  circum- 
stances had  not  prevented.  The  source  of  all  these  evils  may 
be  summed  up  in  the  one  vicious  tendency  to  make  as  many 
doctors  as  possible,  whereas  our  aim  ought  to  be  to  keep  our 
degree  as  high  a  distinction  as  possible,  and  to  extend  it  only 
in  proportion  as  the  resources  of  our  educational  system  sup- 
ply a  solid  basis  for  it. 

The  danger  from  the  evils  I  have  mentioned,  to  the  doctor- 
ate in  general,  is  especially  to  be  guarded  against  in  the  case 
of  history.  In  the  several  departments  of  natura!  science, 
for  instance,  the  importance  of  adequate  laboratory  facilities 
is  so  well  recognized  that  a  student  is  not  easijy  deceived  into 
accepting  any  but  the  best  equipped  teaching  he  can  com- 
mand. He  goes  naturally  to  the  few  great  centers  where 
large  and  expensive  plants  have  been  established  and  where 
men  of  distinction  in  their  branch  are  gathered.  In  regard 
to  history  the  same  conditions  do  not  exist.  It  is  compara- 
tively easy  to  impress  young  men  early  with  the  idea  that 
history  is  to  be  got  out  of  a  few  books,  and  that  no  espacial 
equipment  whatever  is  needed  for  its  study.  If  one  decides, 
at  the  close  of  a  college  course,  that  he  would  like  to  go  into 
teaching,  and  that  history  is  the  subject  which  attracts  him, 
he  is  all  too  easily  caught  by  the  offer  of  a  degree  on  ^Tetty 
easy  terms,  and  may  well  fail  to  grasp  the  immense  range  and 
bearing  of  his  chosen  topic.  Those  who  have  the  real  interests 
of  our  higher  education  at  heart  can  not  apply  themselves  too 
earnestly  to  maintaining  the  standards  here  as  elsewhere. 

In  determining  the  positive  requirements  for  the  historical 
doctorate  in  America  attention  ought  first  to  be  given  to  the 
preliminary  training  of  the  college.  The  great  diversity  in  the 
bachelor's  degree  makes  it  quite  impossible  to  accept  this 
alone  as  the  foundation  for  future  study  along  any  specific 
line.  We  are  constantly  forgetting  this  and  acting  on  the 
assumption  that  one  A.  B.  is  not  only  as  good  but  the  same  as 
another.  We  are  involved  in  the  use  of  the  unfortunate  terms 
"undergraduate"  and  ^'graduate,''  though  a  moment's  thought 
shows  us  that  these  words  have  no  real  meaning  whatever  and 


HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE  IN  AMERICA EMERTON.       81 

represent  acquirements  ranging,  between  minimum  and  maxi- 
mum, over  a  variation  of  from  one  to  three  years.  This  varia- 
tion in  quantity  is  even  less  than  the  variation  in  quality  and 
in  variety  of  subjects.  There  are  A.  B.'s  without  Latin  or 
Greek,  without  any  modern  language,  without  history,  with- 
out philosophy,  even  without  political  economy.  In  setting 
our  requirements  for  higher  degrees  we  have  been  too  much 
in  the  habit  of  overlooking  these  distinctions  and  assuming 
that  our  conditions  were  like  those  of  Germany,  for  instance, 
where  it  is  possible  to  assume  that  the  graduate  of  the  gym- 
nasium, no  matter  where  he  come  from,  will  have  a  certain 
well-defined  equipment  upon  which  later  work  may  be  based. 
It  will  not  do  to  say  that  our  future  doctor  in  history  must 
be  an  A.  B.  We  must  prescribe  certain  studies  which  he  ought 
to  have  followed  before  entering  upon  his  specifically  advanced 
historical  course.  In  the  first  place  he  ought  to  have  a  good 
linguistic  training.  I  have  little  sympathy  with  the  notion 
that  philology  and  history  are  the  same  thing,  and  might  even 
hesitate  to  group  them  together  as  they  have  been  grouped  by 
the  chief  historical  schools  of  Europe  as  the  most  natural  yoke- 
fellows in  the  fields  of  scholarship.  But,  however  one  may 
think  on  this  subject,  it  can  not  be  denied  that  without  a 
knowledge  of  languages  no  historical  study  can  be  anything 
more  than  elementary.  It  is  idle  to  blind  ourselves  to  the  fact 
that  the  record  of  the  life  of  almost  all  humanity,  especially 
that  record  which  is  best  worth  the  study  of  the  historian,  is 
written  in  languages  other  than  English.  If  our  doctor  is  to 
be  a  trained  specialist  in  the  use  of  this  record  in  the  sense  in 
which  the  chemist  is  a  specialist  in  the  use  of  his  material,  and 
the  economist  in  the  use  of  his,  and  the  theologian  of  his,  he 
must  be  able  to  read  the  record  as  it  was  written,  and  the  time 
for  him  to  acquire  this  reading  knowledge  of  the  necessary 
languages  is  before  he  begins  to  specialize.  Taking  the  lan- 
guages in  order  of  importance  he  ought  to  make  himself  able 
to  read  easily  Latin,  German,  and  French,  and  should  have 
some  knowledge  of  Greek.  By  far  the  best  method  is,  after 
he  has  made  a  start  under  the  direction  of  his  college  teach- 
ers, to  spend  his  long  vacations  in  the  rapid  reading  of  the 
modern  languages,  using  such  literature  as  will  make  him 
familiar  with  the  best  prose  and  at  the  same  time  be  sufficiently 
amusing  to  keep  up  his  interest.  His  teachers  in  college  can 
not  help  him  here  beyond  the  start,  and  if  he  depends  upon 
S.  Mis.  104 6 


82  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

their  aid  he  is  wasting  valuable  time  which  might  be  given  to 
other  things.  By  this  plan  a  capable  and  vigorous  youth  (and 
for  our  doctorate  we  can  use  none  other)  ought,  by  the  time  he 
leaves  college,  to  get  enough  linguistic  training,  so  that  he 
can  handle  without  great  difficulty  materials,  original  and 
second  hand,  in  a  half-dozen  languages.  His  advantage  here 
is  great  beyond  all  question.  He  has  taken  the  first  steps 
toward  becoming  not  merely  a  specialist  in  one  corner  of  his 
field  but  toward  achievement  in  any  part  of  the  vast  domain 
into  which  his  taste  may  lead  him.  He  has  gained  an  instru- 
ment which  will  serve  him  wherever  his  work  may  lie  and 
which  he  can  never  again  acquire  so  easily. 

Kext,  our  candidate  should  have  some  training  in  philoso- 
phy. The  study  of  history  is  largely  the  study  of  evidence 
based  upon  human  testimony.  The  chief  defect  of  historians, 
the  chief  source  of  differences  among  them,  and  of  uncertainty 
in  our  knowledge  of  the  subjects  they  treat,  has  been  their 
incapacity  to  understand  evidence  and  to  interpret  it  aright. 
Perhaps  no  people  has  illustrated  this  defect  more  thoroughly 
than  the  one  which  has  done  most  in  the  cause  of  modern  his- 
torical research.  The  student  who  should  trust  the  inductive 
capacity  of  the  most  diligent  and  most  highly  trained  German, 
without  careful  examination,  would  be  putting  himself  in  dan- 
ger of  endless  error.  The  only  safeguard  against  this  danger 
is  the  cultivation  of  a  habit  of  close  and  methodical  thinking, 
and  the  best  academic  aid  to  this  is  the  study  of  philosophy, 
especially  of  formal  logic.  On  the  other  hand  it  should  be 
remembered  that  the  science  of  historical  evidence  is  not  an 
exact  science.  It  does  not  proceed  by  the  rules  of  mathemat- 
ics 5  it  deals  only  with  high  degrees  of  probability,  not  with 
certainties,  and,  therefore,  the  candidate  for  historical  honors 
ought  to  practice  himself  in  that  kind  of  argument  which 
brings  in  the  element  of  human  judgment  and  even  of  human 
error.  It  would  be  well  for  him  if  he  could  read  and  ponder 
carefully  some  treatise  on  the  law  of  evidence,  such  as  a  special 
student  of  law  might  use.  If  it  could  be  made  clear  to  him 
early  in  his  course  that  he  is  dealing  with  matters  which  will 
not  let  themselves  be  regulated  by  the  laws  of  mathematics, 
nor  even  by  the  principles  of  formal  logic,  but  have,  neverthe- 
less, a  law  of  their  own,  which  it  is  his  business  to  interpret,  he 
will  be  in  a  state  of  mind  the  most  useful  for  the  historian  of 
the  future. 


HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE  IN  AMERICA EMERTON.       83 

Again  an  early  study  should  be  the  elements  of  economic 
science.  After  all,  the  primary  need  of  man  is  daily  bread  and 
underneath  all  the  great  combinations  of  political  and  national 
life  which  the  historian  is  called  upon  to  study,  there  lies  the 
impulse  of  self-preservation  and  of  advancement  in  material 
things,  which  form  the  subject  of  economic  study.  The  prin- 
ciples of  this  study  are  not  difficult.  They  can  be  compre- 
hended in  their  outline  by  a  bright  schoolboy  and  the  college 
student  is  capable  of  taking  in  a  considerable  deposit  of  this 
kind  of  information,  which  can  not  fail  to  be  of  use  in  historical 
work.  If,  for  example,  he  would  rightly  comprehend  the  great 
movements  of  nations  from  one  country  to  another,  the  decline 
of  races  remaining  upon  one  spot  of  earth,  the  rise  and  fall  of 
populations,  by  which  the  course  of  political  history  has  so 
I  often  been  determined,  he  must  be  able  to  give  its  due  weight 
to  the  economic  element. 

The  last  subject  which  I  should  urge  as  a  fitting  accompani- 
ment to  the  early  stages  of  historical  work  is  that  of  the  fine 
arts.  It  would  be  a  lame  historian  indeed  who  should  wholly 
have  left  out  of  his  vision  the  most  wonderful  product,  next  to 
the  great  literatures,  of  the  human  mind.  I  do  not  forget  that 
the  American  student  is  here  hopelessly  behind  the  European, 
not  only  in  the  absence  of  great  works  of  art  for  his  study, 
but  also  in  that  general  depression  of  the  aesthetic  sense  from 
which  our  community  suffers.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  I  know 
with  what  eagerness  our  youth  catch  the  suggestions  of  the 
aesthetic  progress  of  mankind,  when  they  are  offered  to  them, 
and  how  valuable  the  knowledge,  even  if  it  be  mainly  book- 
knowledge,  of  what  man  has  done  in  this  direction  may  be  to 
the  historical  student.  It  offers  him  a  key  which  unlocks  the 
secret  of  many  a  period  of  history  otherwise  obscure,  and  these 
periods  are  among  the  most  instructive,  in  every  sense,  with 
which  he  will  have  to  deal.  The  resources  of  modern  pho- 
tography have  put  within  the  reach  of  every  one  reproductions, 
which,  for  purposes  of  instruction,  are  almost  as  valuable  as 
the  originals.  The  reaction  of  such  study  upon  the  more  tech- 
nically historical  work  of  any  student  must  be  healthful  in  the 
extreme. 

As  to  how  much  of  this  more  distinctively  historical  study 
we  may  properly  demand  of  the  college  student  who  is  looking 
forward  to  the  doctorate,  I  have  thus  far  said  nothing.  I 
place  it  last,  because  it  seems  to  me  on  the  whole,  the  least 


f 

84  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

important.  If  I  were  required  to  take  my  choice  between  a 
candidate  well  equipped  in  language,  in  philosophy,  in  eco- 
nomic science,  and  in  the  history  of  the  fine  arts,  and  one  who 
had  spent  the  same  time  in  reading  history  without  any  of 
these  aids,  I  would  take  my  chances  with  the  former.  But  we 
are  not  driven  to  this  alternative.  The  college  course,  resting 
upon  a  solid  preparation  in  school  and  beginning  at  about  the 
eighteenth  year  of  a  man's  life,  has  room,  besides  the  studies  I 
have  mentioned,  for  a  good  deal  of  actual  acquisition  in  his- 
tory. It  may  fairly  be  assumed  that  the  youth  who  has  gone 
through  the  normal  i)rocess  of  an  American  student,  will  have  a 
smattering  of  Greek  and  Koman  history,  and  some  knowledge 
of  the  history  of  his  own  country  in  school.  If  now  he  can 
add  to  this  the  work  of  one  year  in  college,  not  an  extravagant 
demand  for  a  man  who  is  going  to  be  a  specialist  in  this  field, 
he  can  get  a  fair  amount  of  purely  historical  knowledge  with 
which  to  start  on  his  course  for  the  doctorate.  This  work 
would  not,  in  the  natural  course  of  things,  be  taken  all  in  the 
same  year.  It  would  include  a  considerable  elementary 
knowledge  of  mediaeval  and  modern  history  as  a  basis  for 
further  study.  To  this  might  be  added  one  course  in  mediaeval 
work,  one  in  modern  European,  and  one  in  American  constitu- 
tional history,  with  one  year's  membership  in  some  practice 
course,  where  the  work  should  be  directed  mainly  to  the  acqui- 
sition of  method  in  the  handling  of  historical  documents,  rather 
than  to  getting  information  about  facts.  It  would  be  unde- 
sirable, as  it  would  in  fact  be  impossible,  to  prescribe  at  this 
stage  of  progress  a  precise  course  of  study  which  every 
student  ought  to  follow.  The  most  that  can  be  said  is  that  he 
ought,  during  this  preparatory  period,  to  acquire  a  tolerably 
rounded  knowledge  of  the  critical  periods  of  the  history  of 
civilized  man.  If  it  were  possible  at  this  time  to  learn  some- 
thing of  archaeology,  as  distinct  from  the  fine  arts  and  with 
especial  reference  to  the  development  of  man  as  a  working  and 
creating  animal,  the  scope  of  the  student's  understanding  of 
history  would  be  eifectively  widened. 

We  come  then  to  the  period  of  special  study  looking  directly 
toward  the  winning  of  the  doctorate.  Of  the  three  pedagogical 
processes  of  acquisition,  comprehension,  and  research,  the 
student  should  now  be  led  mainly  into  the  last,  but  with  a  con- 
stant accompaniment  of  the  two  former.  He  should  never 
cease  to  acquire;  never  for  a  moment  can  he  venture  to  think 


HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE  IN  AMERICA — EMERTON.      85 

of  himself  as  having  enough  knowledge  of  historical  "facts." 
Especially  in  those  fields  of  history  which  lie  outside  his  main 
interest,  he  ought  to  do  wide  and  thoughtful  reading,  searching 
there  for  the  analogies  and  illustrations  which  will  serve  to 
connect  his  narrower  study  with  the  great  course  of  human 
experience.  The  specialist  in  American  history,  for  instance, 
can  never  afford  to  give  up  careful  reading  in  the  history  of 
the  great  republican  experiments  of  Greece  and  Eome  and 
mediaeval  Italy  and  modern  Switzerland,  by  which  alone  he 
can  comprehend  what  the  wonderful  story  of  our  American 
political  experiment  means.  So  also  with  the  effort  to  com- 
prehend the  more  obscure  relations  of  constitutional  and  insti- 
tutional life  in  which  he  may  be  helped  by  the  work  of  experi- 
enced teachers.  He  should  not  cease  to  attend  the  lectures 
of  skillful  expounders  of  these  things,  since  this  time  of  his 
professional  study  is  the  precious  opportunity,  the  last  he 
will  ever  enjoy,  of  profiting  by  personal  contact  with  men  who 
have  traveled  before  him  the  long  road  he  is  to  follow.  Only  as 
he  continues  these  two  processes  of  acquisition  and  of  an  ever- 
widening  comprehension  is  he  in  a  condition  to  profit  by  the 
narrower  work  of  research. 

In  mentioning  two  years  as  the  period  of  special  study  for 
the  doctorate,  I  should  wish  to  be  understood  as  indicating  a 
minimum  time.  Experience  shows  that  almost  every  candidate 
finds  himself  at  the  end  of  two  years  still  hesitating  to  put  into 
definHe  shape  the  results  of  his  study  and  glad  of  another  year 
before  him  which  he  may  devote  wholly  to  this  purpose.  As  to 
how  the  two  years  of  study  should  be  filled  no  precise  course 
can  be  laid  down,  which  every  candidate  ought  to  follow.  A 
few  suggestions  of  experience  may  however  be  made.  The 
future  doctor  is  to  be  a  specialist,  but  let  him  be  guarded 
against  being  a  too  narrow  specialist.  If  the  phrase  be  intel- 
ligible, I  should  say,  let  us  try  to  make  him  narrow  in  order' 
that  he  may  be  broad.  Let  him  be  directed  into  a  line  of 
inquiry  which  shall  be,  in  the  stating  of  it,  as  limited  as  you 
please,  but  which  shall,  by  the  nature  of  the  study  into  which 
it  leads,  tend  to  draw  him  on  and  out  beyond  the  limits  of  the 
mere  statement  into  ever  wider  and  wider  circles  of  interest 
and  of  possible  future  research. 

If  the  too  great  narrowing  of  the  scholar's  vision  is  a  danger 
in  Europe, — and  we  are  now  beginning  to  be  told  that  it  is  so — 
this  danger  is  especially  great  in  America.    The  work  of  the 


86  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

European  teacher  of  history  is  very  closely  specialized^  that 
of  the  American  teacher  must  long  remain,  greatly  to  his  per- 
sonal advantage,  wide  as  the  field  of  history  itself.  Even  in 
Germany,  the  great  teachers  of  the  last  generation,  the  men 
who  led  in  the  work  of  scientific  development  of  historical 
instruction,  were  men  of  the  widest  interests.  It  was  not  at 
all  uncommon  to  find  among  them  one  who  lectured  at  the 
same  time  on  the  history  of  the  ancient  world  and  of  the  most 
modern  times  and  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  this  work  was 
thereby  made  the  more  effective  in  both  directions.  We  have 
been  learning  from  Germany  the  lesson  of  specialization  j  let 
us  beware  lest  it  prove  that  we  have  learned  it  too  well. 

The  remedy  against  this  threatening  evil  is  that  the  idea  be 
constantly  held  before  the  mind  of  the  youthful  scholar  that 
history  is  but  one  subject,  within  which  there  are  indeed  many 
branches,  but  that  these  have  their  value  for  him  only  as  they 
are  seen  to  depend  upon  the  main  stock.  To  do  this  most 
effectively,  he  should  be  helped  into  a  knowledge  of  many 
things  which  apply  to  history  as  a  science,  without  regard  to 
its  periodisation.  Such  for  instance,  is  the  instruction  known 
in  Germany  as  methodology  and  encyclopedia,  a  clumsy 
enough  designation,  but  of  great  use  to  the  historical  special- 
ist by  bringing  together  under  one  point  of  view  all  that  is 
best  worth  knowing  theoretically  about  the  history  and  method 
of  his  science.  If  it  be  objected  that  the  best  way  to  learn 
method  is  to  use  it,  I  reply  that  whatever  tends  to  give  the 
professional  historian  a  sense  of  the  unity  of  his  subject,  of  its 
quality  and  its  value  as  distinguished  from  other  subjects,  of 
his  association  as  a  member  in  a  great  community  of  scholars 
all  over  the  world  who  are  pursuing  the  same  interests  with 
himself  all  this  helps  him  on  toward  higher  conceptions  of  his 
life-work  and  makes  him  more  effective  in  it.  The  time  to  get 
hold  of  these  impressions  is  when  he  is  taking  his  apprentice- 
ship. 

In  the  same  line  of  usefulness  I  place  all  that  group  of 
studies  which  have  as  yet  no  fixed  name  in  America,  but 
which  are  known  in  Europe  as  the  auxiliary  sciences  of  history. 
These  have  reference  to  history  as  a  whole,  and  are  of  use  to 
any  one  who  means  to  be  a  thorough  student  in  it.  They 
include  chronology,  geography,  anthropology,  numismatics, 
diplomatics,  sphragistics,  heraldry,  and  palaeography.  Others 
might  be  added,  but  these  are  subjects  upon  which  every  his- 


HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE  IN  AMERICA — EMERTON.      87 

torian  of  the  future  ought  to  know  something.  Indeed,  it 
seems  hardly  to  need  argument  that  the  specialist  in  a  science 
which  involves  constant  reference  to  the  succession  of  time 
ought  to  know  something  of  the  ways  in  which  that  succes- 
sion has  been  determined  j  that  one  who  is  continually  deal- 
ing with  the  movement  of  events  in  place  ought  to  know 
something  of  the  science  which  tells  how  the  theater  of  history 
was  prepared  for  it,  and  that  no  one  can  be  a  passed  master  in 
a  science  resting  almost  wholly  upon  the  evidence  of  docu- 
ments who  has  not  some  information  as  to  the  process  by  which 
these  documents  were  prepared,  and  of  the  language  in  which 
they  were  written.  And  yet,  simple  as  this  argument  appears, 
I  know  of  but  one  place  in  America  where  any  systematic 
attempt  has  been  made  to  instruct  pupils  looking  towards  his- 
torical honors  in  this  group  of  auxiliary  sciences,  and  that 
attempt  has  been  allowed  to  fail  by  the  indifference  of  trus- 
tees. As  our  discipline  grows  in  favor  we  may  hope  ultimately 
to  demand  this  kind  of  knowledge  from  every  candidate  for 
the  doctorate  in  history. 

In  regard  to  one  other  topic  of  general  value  to  the  historian, 
I  speak  with  more  hesitation.  The  true  place  for  any  profound 
study  of  the  philosophy  of  history  is,  in  my  judgment,  not  the 
early,  but  rather  the  later  years  of  a  man's  professional  life. 
It  is  so  largely  a  speculative  subject,  its  fascination  is  so  dan- 
gerous to  the  untrained  mind,  that  I  should  warn  any  one 
without  a  knowledge  of  history  that  might  really  be  called 
profound  from  going  very  far  into  it.  Yet  with  such  warning, 
with  the  clear  understanding  that  he  is  dealing  with  specu- 
lative matters  and  must  not  look  for  certainty,  the  candidate 
in  history  may  very  profitably  venture  upon  a  brief  excursion 
into  this  field.  It  may  do  him  the  service  of  making  it  clear 
to  him  that  there  have  been  many  very  different  theories  as  to 
the  motive  power  of  human  society  and  save  him  from  a  one- 
sided conception  of  its  underlying  principles.  At  all  events 
it  is  worth  his  while  to  know  that  all  historical  knowledge  is 
but  ill-assorted  cram  unless  it  be  interpreted  by  a  sound  phil- 
osophy, however  elastic  this  may  be. 

I  come  finally  to  the  method  of  awarding  the  great  honor  we 
are  called  upon  to  administer  and  to  guard.  In  the  first  place, 
we  ought  to  insist  that  the  preparatory  study  should  be  con- 
ducted under  the  close  personal  guidance  of  qualified  instruct- 
ors.   The   candidate  for  the  doctorate  should  be  a  marked 


88  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

man  at  the  university.  He  ought  not,  however,  to  be  called 
upon  to  do  any  considerable  part  in  its  work  of  instruction. 
How  much  of  such  work  he  may  properly  do  should  depend 
wholly  upon  the  question  whether  it  is  likely  to  advance  his 
professional  interest.  The  utmost  care  should  be  taken  on  the 
one  hand  that  his  work  be  systematic,  regular,  and  methodi- 
cal; on  the  other,  that  he  be  not  hampered  by  any  of  the  petty 
restrictions  as  to  times  and  places  supposed  to  be  necessary  to 
the  undergraduate  period.  His  relation  to  the  teachers  of  the 
department  should  be  that  of  a  personal  friend,  working  with 
them  toward  a  common  goal.  The  knowledge  of  his  work 
gained  by  this  close  personal  intercourse  makes  the  ordinary 
methods  of  academic  test,  by  frequent  examination  or  other- 
wise, sui)erfluous  in  his  case.  If  he  be  not  capable  of  utilizing 
the  freedom  of  his  position  to  his  advantage  it  would  be  better 
to  exclude  him  at  once  from  candidacy. 

So  much  the  more  important,  however,  does  it  become  that 
his  attainment  in  power — the  thing  we  are,  after  all,  trying 
chiefly  to  give  him — should  be  tested  by  more  or  less  frequent 
pieces  of  work.  I  value  such  intermediate  tests  partly  as  a 
preparation  for  the  final  thesis  and  partly  as  diminishing  the 
undue  importance  sometimes  attached  to  that  production.  In 
many  cases  if  the  candidate  were  required  to  j)resent  several 
times  in  his  course  the  results  of  less  prolonged  investigation, 
he  would  come  to  know  his  weak  points  and  be  spared  the 
mortification  of  finding  at  the  close  that  his  one  great  effort 
is,  after  all  his  pains,  only  an  attempt  and  a  failure  at  that. 
Furthermore,  in  considering  the  question  of  the  award  such 
weight  might  be  given  to  these  preliminary  tests  that  any 
undue  prominence  of  the  final  thesis  might  be  avoided. 

As  to  the  nature  of  the  doctor's  thesis,  a  very  high  stand- 
ard ought  to  be  set,  but  we  are  in  danger  of  exaggerating  one 
of  the  most  useful  demands  usually  made.  It  may  safely  be 
required  that  the  thesis  should  be  a  contribution  to  the  learning 
of  the  subject,  and  in  that  sense  original.  It  is  only  in  the 
interpretation  of  the  word  "originality"  that  I  find  a  serious 
difficulty.  Hardly  anything  has  done  more  harm  to  the  modern 
German  scholar  than  a  morbid  craving  for  the  kind  of  distinc- 
tion which  comes  from  finding  some  new  thing.  :N"ow  and 
again  it  has  had  great  results,  but  it  has  begotten  a  feverish 
dread  of  the  commonplace  which  our  American  scholars  can  not 
afford  to  imitate.    The  field  of  history  is  full  of  unsolved  prob- 


HISTORICAL  DOCTORATE  IN  AMERICA — EMERTON.       89 

lems,  and  the  honest  attempt  to  enlighten  any  one  of  these,  if  it 
be  accompanied  with  a  wide  study  of  the  surrounding  material, 
is  all  we  can  ask.  The  actual  discovery  of  new  matter  can  not 
be  made  a  test  of  success,  unless  we  desire  to  limit  our  students 
to  the  narrowest  of  all  fields,  the  history  of  our  own  country. 

As  to  the  need  of  a  final  examination,  oral  or  otherwise,  upon 
the  candidate's  general  command  of  historical  knowledge, 
opinions  differ.  One  yiew  is  that  if  the  candidate  has  been 
frequently  examined  during  his  preparation,  this  is  evidence 
sufiScient  as  regards  this  part  of  his  fitness  for  the  degree. 
1^0  man,  it  is  said,  can  be  expected  to  know  everything,  and 
an  examination  ranging  over  a  very  wide  field  must  of  neces- 
sity be  superficial  in  its  testing  power.  There  is  in  this  com- 
ment too  much  of  that  tendency  to  speak  of  academic  work  as 
"gotten  off"  and  laid  aside,  which  can  not  be  too  greatly 
deplored.  Even  though  a  man  had  been  examined  in  the  earlier 
stages  of  his  course,  the  knowledge  he  had  then  ought  not  to 
have  slipped  away  from  him  without  result  5  it  ought  to  have 
been  enlightened  and  enlarged  by  all  his  later  study,  and  it  is 
precisely  this  final  condition  of  his  intellectual  stock  that  the 
special  examination  for  the  doctorate  is  well  calculated  to 
reach.  If  such  examination  be  oral,  it  may,  without  injustice, 
take  the  widest  range  and  give  to  the  candidate  the  best  of 
opportunities  for  telling  what  he  knows,  not,  be  it  well  under- 
stood, of  showing  the  results  of  a  cram,  but.  of  giving  the 
orderly  product  of  his  thought  on  his  chosen  subject.  If  it 
be  written,  the  candidate  may  be  allowed  such  a  wide  option 
of  questions  that  the  result  may  to  some  persons  seem  even 
more  satisfactory.  In  no  case  should  such  a  searching  final 
examination  be  dispensed  with. 

An  experience  of  some  years  in  the  administration  of  the  doc- 
tor's degree  leads  me  to  the  conclusion  that  it  has  a  very  large 
part  to  play  in  the  development  of  our  American  scholarship. 
There  are  those  who  despise  all  academic  degrees  as  fictitious 
and  valueless.  Their  value  must  depend  wholly  upon  the 
strictness  with  which  they  are  administered.  There  is  no  more 
impressive  lesson  in  our  educational  experience  than  that 
making  distinction  difficult  not  only  increases  its  value  but 
actually  incites  a  greater  eagerness  to  get  it.  The  American 
youth,  easily  deceived  for  a  time  by  educational  charlatanry, 
is  yet  able  to  take  in  this  idea  with  considerable  readiness, 
that  whatever  costs  much  is  probably  worth  working  for,  and, 


$ 

90  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

within  reasonable  limits,  we  need  not  fear  to  alarm  him.  He 
will  only  make  another  effort,  and  eventually,  if  he  has  the 
stuff"  in  him  of  which  scholars  are  made,  he  will  reach  his  aim. 
Let  us,  in  whose  hands  lies  the  future  of  the  historical  doctor- 
ate in  America,  see  to  it  that  our  part  in  this  endeavor  be  not 
wanting. 


IX.-THE  FIRST  FUGITIVE  SLAVE  CASE  OF  RECORD  IN  OHIO. 


By  HON.  WILLIAM   HENRY   SMITH 
OF  LAKE  FOREST,  ILL. 


91 


THE  FIRST  FUGITIVE  SLAVE  CASE  OF  RECORD  IN  OHIO. 


By  William  Henry  Smith. 


I 


The  immortal  sixth  article  of  compact  of  the  ordinance  of 
1787,  chiefly  adopted  by  the  votes  of  the  Southern  States  under 
the  lead  of  Yirginia,  undoubtedly  reflected  the  sentiment  of 
the  majority  of  the  people.  The  clause  recognizing  property 
in  slaves  is  as  mild  as  language  could  make  it.  There  is  noth- 
ing mandatory  about  it.  The  escaping  fugitive  "may  be  law- 
fully reclaimed  and  conveyed  to  the  person  claiming  his  or  her 
labor  or  service."  In  the  corresponding  clause  in  the  Consti- 
tution, then  being  framed,  "shall  be  delivered  up  on  claim  of 
the  party  to  whom  service  or  labor  may  be  due,"  was  substi- 
tuted, and  this  language  is  followed  in  the  act  of  1793.  But 
this  was  construed  in  the  spirit  of  the  milder  phrase  in  its 
execution  for  many  years;  and,  indeed,  the  legislative  act 
admitted  of  no  aggravating  process.  If  these  early  documents, 
the  acts  for  the  suppression  of  the  slave  trade  and  the  com- 
promise measures  of  1850,  were  printed  in  parallel  columns  a 
striking  contrast  would  be  presented.  The  history  of  the  evo- 
lution of  the  power  that  dominated  the  destinies  of  the  Eepub- 
lic  for  over  half  a  century  would  be  displayed  on  a  single 
page.  Prior  to  1808  slavery  received  only  a  shamefaced  recog- 
nition on  either  side  of  the  sectional  line.  Indeed,  I  might  say 
1819,  for  activity  in  its  propagation  was  noticeable  only  after 
that  date.  The  reason,  which  is  well  understood,  need  not 
engage  our  attention.  Whatever  of  antagonism  occurred  on 
the  border  west  of  the  Allegheny  Mountains  was  due  to  the 
cupidity  of  a  few,  and  did  not  involve  the  good  people  of  Vir- 
ginia, Kentucky,  and  the  Northwest. 

Among  the  papers  of  Governor  Samuel  Huntington,  of  Ohio, 
was  found  an  incomplete  account  of  the  first  fugitive  slave  case 
of  record  under  the  act  of  1793  that  occurred  in  the  territory 
embraced  in  the  ordinance  of  1787.    Eesearch  in  Virginia  has 

93 


94  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

enabled  me  to  complete  the  story,  which  presents  some  striking 
features  5  and  as  the. facts  illustrate  the  operations  of  the  laws 
regulating  slavery,  and  show  the  sentiments  of  the  people  of 
Ohio  and  Virginia  as  regards  that  institution  in  the  begin- 
ning of  the  century,  I  purpose  briefly  to  recount  them. 

On  the  22d  day  of  October,  1808,  in  the  pioneer  town  of 
Oharlestown  (now  Wellsburg),  Brooke  County,  Ya.,  a  called 
court  was  held  for  the  trial  of  Jane,  a  slave  of  Joseph  Tom- 
linson,  jr.,  charged  with  entering  the  premises  of  a  merchant 
in  nighttime,  and  stealing  goods  exceeding  in  value  $4.  James 
Grifath,  an  upright  judge,  presided,  assisted  by  four  citizens, 
gentlemen.  Philip  Doddridge  represented  the  commonwealth 
and  Alexander  Caldwell  the  accused.  The  testimony  was  vol- 
uminous, but  this  brief  transcript  from  the  records  of  the  court 
shall  suffice : 

The  court,  after  hearing  the  prisoner's  defence,  are  unanimously  of  the 
opinion  that  she  is  guilty  of  the  offence  wherewith  she  stands  charged, 
and  thereupon  it  is  considered  by  the  court  that  she  be  taken  from  here 
to  the  place  whence  she  came,  and  be  there  confined  until  the  tenth  day  of 
December  next,  and  that  on  that  day  she  be  taken  by  the  sheriff  from  the 
jail  to  the  place  of  execution,  and  there,  at  twelve  o'clock  on  that  day,  be 
hanged  by  the  neck  until  she  be  dead.  And  it  is  ordered  that  a  transcript 
of  the  warrant  and  proceedings  be  made  out  and  certified  in  two  different 
mails  to  the  clerk  of  the  executive  council  by  the  clerk  of  this  court. 

Ordered,  that  it  be  certified  that  the  value  of  the  said  slave,  in  the  opin- 
ion of  this  court,  is 


The  papers  in  the  case  were  received  at  Eichmond  by  due 
course  of  mail,  as  the  executive  records  show : 

Friday,  November  4, 1808.  The  governor  laid  before  the  board  the  pro- 
ceedings of  the  county  court  of  Brooke  for  the  trial  of  Jane,  a  negro  woman 
slave,  the  property  of  Joseph  Tomlinson,  jr.,  condemned  to  death  by  the  said 
court  for  felony;  whereupon  it  is  advised  that  the  said  Jane  be  reprieved 
until  the  Ist  day  of  November,  1809,  for  sale  and  transportation.  And  it  is 
further  advised  that  John  Connell,  clerk  of  the  said  court,  be  appointed 
agent  to  dispose  of  the  said  slave  for  the  best  price  he  can  obtain,  and  take 
bonds  from  the  purchaser  for  the  amount  of  sale,  and  for  carrying  her  out 
of  the  United  States  agreeable  to  law. 

The  full  force  of  these  records  will  be  better  understood  when 
read  in  the  light  of  the  changes  in  the  laws  regulating  slavery : 

The  act  of  1692  for  the  trial  of  slaves  charged  with  a  "cappi- 
tall"  offense,  which  the  law  of  England  required  to  be  satisfied 
with  the  death  of  the  offender,  or  loss  of  member,  required  the 
accused  to  be  committed  to  jail  laden  with  irons.  The  gov- 
ernor upon  receiving  notice  from  the  sheriff  of  the  arrest,  issued 


FIRST   FUGITIVE    SLAVE    CASE    IN   OHIO — SMITH.        95 

out  a  commission  of  oyer  and  terminer  directed  to  fit  persons 
of  the  county,  who  forthwith  held  a  court  for  the  trial,  and 
took  for  evidence  the  confession  of  the  party,  or  the  oaths  of 
two  witnesses,  or  of  one  with  pregnant  circumstances,  with  the 
^^sollemnitie"  of  jury,  and  the  accused  being  found  guilty,  to 
pass  judgment  as  the  law  of  England  provided  in  the  like  case, 
and  on  such  judgment  to  award  execution. 

This  law  was  amended  in  1748  by  the  lieutenant-governor, 
council,  and  house  of  burgesses,  so  as  to  provide  that  in  case 
the  court  should  be  divided  in  opinion,  the  accused  should  be 
acquitted ;  that  in  case  of  conviction  there  should  be  ten  days 
at  least  between  the  time  of  passing  judgment  and  the  day 
of  execution,  except  in  cases  of  conspiracy,  insurrection,  or 
rebellion  J  and  that  punishment  should  be  without  benefit  of 
clergy.  The  minimum  of  loss  justifying  death  was  fixed  at 
20  shillings  current  money,  but  care  was  exercised  as  to  the 
sufdciency  of  testimony. 

In  1772  the  act  of  1748  was  so  amended  as  to  provide  that 
a  slave  convicted  of  housebreaking  in  the  nighttime  without 
stealing  goods  should  not  be  excluded  from  benefit  of  clergy, 
unless  a  free  man  in  like  case  should  be  so  excluded.  And  it 
was  further  enacted  '^  that  sentence  of  death  should  in  no  case 
be  passed  upon  any  slave,  unless  four  of  the  court,  before  whom 
such  slave  is  arraigned  and  tried,  being  a  majority,  shall  con- 
cur in  their  opinion  of  his  guilt.'^ 

In  1786  a  law  was  enacted  constituting  the  justices  of  every 
county  justices  of  oyer  and  terminer  for  trying  slaves  charged 
with  treason  or  felony,  which  trial  was  required  to  take  place 
within  ten  days  after  arrest,  ^o  slave  could  be  condemned 
unless  all  of  the  justices  sitting  upon  his  trial  should  agree  in 
opinion  that  the  prisoner  was  guilty.  It  also  provided  that 
where  judgment  of  death  was  pronounced  thirty  days  should 
be  allowed  between  the  time  of  passing  judgment  and  execu- 
tion, except  in  case  of  conspiracy,  insurrection,  or  rebellion. 
The  justices  were  also  required  to  fix  the  value  of  the  con- 
demned slave,  which  sum  was  paid  to  the  owner  out  of  the 
public  funds  before  the  day  of  execution.  No  person  having 
interest  in  a  slave  was  permitted  to  sit  upon  the  trial  of  such 
slave. 

Finally,  in  1801,  an  act  was  passed  authorizing  the  governor, 
with  the  advice  of  his  council,  to  contract  with  any  person  for 
the  sale  or  purchase  of  slaves  under  sentence  of  death  for  con- 


96  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

spiracy,  insurrection,  or  other  crimes,  the  purchaser  being 
required  to  enter  into  bond,  with  sufficient  security,  in  the 
penalty  of  $500,  with  the  condition  to  carry  out  of  the  United 
States  the  condemned;  such  sale  amounting  to  a  reprieve  from 
sentence  of  death.  Provided,  that  in  the  case  of  the  return  to 
Virginia  of  such  person,  the  original  sentence  should  be  car- 
ried into  effect  as  if  no  reprieve  had  taken  place.  The  owners 
of  slaves  transported  were  paid  in  the  same  manner  as  for 
slaves  executed.  The  court  in  all  such  cases  was  required  to 
certify  the  proceedings  and  findings  to  the  governor. 

Let  us  now  resume  our  story.  Before  the  action  of  the  gov- 
ernor could  be  known  at  Charlestown,  the  door  of  the  jail  was 
left  open  and  Jane  walked  forth  unmolested  by  any.  After 
spending  two  days  in  the  village,  which  was  known  to  the  offi- 
cers of  the  court,  she  crossed  the  Ohio  river  to  Marietta  where 
she  found  employment  as  a  domestic  in  the  family  of  Abner 
Lord.  There  is  a  charge  in  the  bill  of  the  jailer  for  ^'  eighteen 
days'  boarding  of  the  negro  slave  Jane,"  which  would  make 
the  date  of  her  escape  the  9th  of  November.  There  is  no  doubt 
but  that  public  opinion  was  against  the  severity  of  the  law, 
and  even  against  the  alternative  of  sale  and  transportation, 
which  was  pretty  sure  to  result  from  the  action  of  the  execu- 
tive in  all  such  cases,  and  this  feeling  of  humanity  is  what 
moved  the  officer  of  the  law  to  connive  at  the  escape  of  Jane 
before  notice  of  the  act  of  the  governor  and  council  could  be 
received.  It  is  certain  that  the  woman  was  not  regarded  as 
vicious — the  testimony  of  witnesses  on  her  trial  was  favorable 
as  to  conduct — or  the  community  would  have  regarded  sale 
and  transportation  as  a  relief.  After  her  escape  no  one  inter- 
ested himself  in  her  further  punishment,  although  her  place  of 
refuge  was  known  to  the  sheriff  and  the  citizens  of  Charles- 
town. 

This  friendly  indifference  was  interrupted  in  time,  when  it 
became  known  that  the  escaped  slave  had  given  birth  to  a  child 
at  her  new  home,  and  slavery  had  a  claim  now  on  two  souls 
instead  of  one.  The  year  stipulated  in  the  reprieve  had  expired 
without  notice;  Jane,  who  had  married  a  free  colored  man  soon 
after  finding  a  new  home,  seemed  to  have  no  apprehensions  of 
being  disturbed,  when  cupidity  in  the  form  of  Jacob  Beeson 
appeared  in  Marietta  and  attempted  under  the  act  of  1793  to 
carry  off  by  force  the  mother  and  child.  There  is  no  evidence 
that  Beeson  at  any  time  represented  the  agent  appointed  by 


FIRST   FUGITIVE    SLAVE    CASE    IN   OHIO SMITH.        97 

the  governor  to  sell  and  transport  tlie  woman,  or,  in  fact,  any- 
body in  that  section  of  the  State  but  himself.  He  applied  to 
the  governor  of  Virginia  for  a  letter  to  the  governor  of  Ohio, 
^^ confessedly,^^  so  citizens  of  Marietta  said,  "for  the  purpose 
of  procuring  the  woman  and  her  child  for  himself."  We  shall 
see  how  he  accomplished  his  purpose.  This  application 
revived  the  case  and  called  for  executive  action,  of  which  we 
[find  due  notice : 

Thursday,  February  1,  1810.  It  is  advised  that  the  governor  demand  of 
the  executive  of  the  State  of  Ohio  a  negro  woman  slave  named  Jane,  who 
was  heretofore  reprieved  for  transportation  by  the  executive  of  this  Com- 
monwealth, but  escaped  from  custody,  and  is  now  said  to  be  in  the  State 
of  Ohio ;  and  that  Jacob  Beeson,  esquire,  of  Wood  County,  be  employed  as 
agent  for  this  Commonwealth  to  apply  for  the  said  negro,  bring  her  to  the 
county  of  Wood,  and  retain  her  until  the  further  order  of  the  executive. 

This  demand  was  in  the  form  of  a  letter,  which  reads  as 
follows : 

Richmond,  Virginia,  February  5, 1810. 

Sir  :  I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  you  a  copy  of  an  advice  of  the  council 
of  this  State  duly  authenticated,  authorizing  a  demand  for  a  slave,  who, 
having  been  convicted  of  felony  in  one  of  the  county  courts  of  this  State, 
has,  under  an  act  of  the  general  assembly  thereof,  been  reprieved  for  sale 
and  transportation,  but  who  has  escaped  from  custody,  and  is  said  to  be 
in  the  State  of  Ohio.  And  in  pursuance  of  the  said  advice  I  have  to 
request  your  excellency  will  be  pleased  to  cause  the  said  slave  to  be 
arrested  and  delivered  up  to  Jacob  Beeson,  esquire  (of  the  county  of 
Wood  in  this  Commonwealth),  the  agent  appointed  on  behalf  of  this  State 
to  receive  her. 

I  am,  with  great  respect,  your  excellency's  obedient  servant, 

Jno.  Tyler. 

His  excellency,  the  Governor  of  the  State  of  Ohio. 

What  befell  Mr.  Beeson  is  best  related  in  his  own  words : 

Wood  County,  Virginia,  FeVy  24, 1810. 

Sir  :  I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  to  you  a  demand  made  by  the  governor 
of  Virginia  of  a  slave  who  is  now  in  your  State,  in  the  town  of  Marietta, 
in  the  service  of  Abner  Lord.  Governor  Tyler  did  suppose  that  the  citi- 
zens of  Marietta  would  have  had  a  sufficient  respect  for  the  rights  of  this 
Old  Dominion,  and  that  they  would  have  delivered  up  its  slave  without 
your  interposition.  But  I  lament  that  we  have  been  disappointed,  for 
immediately  upon  my  application  to  a  justice  of  the  peace  for  the  delivery 
of  the  slave,  she  was  secreted  and  put  out  of  reach  of  the  officer. 

It  is  with  great  concern  that  the  people  of  Virginia  (who  reside  on  its 
western  extremity)  look  forward  to  the  evils  that  will  grow  out  of  this 
course  of  conduct  pursued  by  the  people  of  your  State  residing  on  and  near 
the  Ohio.  The  idea  of  emancipation  is  propagated,  and  that  such  will 
fire  the  breast  of  every  slave  no  one  will  doubt.  The  executive  thought 
S.  Mis.  104 7 


98  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

it  not  necessary  to  forward  the  records  of  condemnation,  as  tliat  circum- 
stance was  notorious  in  the  town  of  Marietta. 

Please  inform  me  by  the  next  mail  of  the  course  which  I  am  to  pursue, 
and  direct  to  Wood  Ct.  House,  Virginia. 

I  am,  with  great  respect,  your  obedient  servant, 

Jacob  Beeson. 
His  Excellency  the  Governor  of  the  State  op  Ohio. 

On  the  same  day  that  Mr.  Beeson  addressed  the  governor  of 
Ohio,  a  number  of  the  prominent  citizens  of  Marietta  signed  a 
petition  requesting  him  not  to  surrender  the  woman.  ^ '  They  feel 
no  other  interest,"  they  say,  "than  that  of  insuring  to  an  object 
of  commiseration  that  justice  which  is  her  due."  Thereupon 
they  recite  the  facts  which  I  have  already  related,  adding  that 
they  had  reason  to  believe  that  the  conviction  was  improperly 
procured,  that  the  woman  was  persuaded  to  leave  the  jail,  and 
that  word  was  sent  to  the  sheriff  early  that  she  was  ready  to 
return  if  required.  They  say  farther  that  she  had  not  sought 
to  elude  all  search,  "but  would  only  desire  to  be  kept  from  one 
whose  avarice  alone,  it  is  believed,  has  prompted  him  to  attempt 
to  regain  her."  They  believed  that  she  was  entitled  to  enjoy 
the  liberty  that  had  been  thrust  upon  her. 

The  signatures  to  this  petition  are  of  men  who  have  a  place 
in  the  history  of  this  country,  men  who  carried  forward  what 
Manasseh  Cutler  had  planned — Samuel  P.  Hildreth,  the  Put- 
nams,  Dudley  and  William  Woodbridge,  Caleb  Emerson,  Grif- 
fith Green,  the  Devols,  Joseph  Israel,  Benjamin  Buggies,  Gen. 
Buell,  Obadiah  Lincoln,  Thomas  L.  and  Charles  Prentiss,  J.  B. 
Gardiner,  Timothy  E.  Danielson,  and  Abner  Lord.  To  these 
New  England  names  should  be  added  that  of  the  English  Qua- 
ker, John  Brough,  father  of  the  John  Brough  who  became  a 
famous  governor  during  the  storm  and  stress  period.  These 
represented  the  principles  embodied  in  the  ordinance  of  1787, 
which  made  Ohio  the  most  interesting  battle  ground  in  the 
moral  and  political  contest  that  quickly  followed.  This  peti- 
tion was  the  first  of  a  long  list  of  petitions  having  a  common 
object,  that  were  addressed  to  the  executive  of  the  State  dur- 
ing a  half  century. 

Governor  Huntington  ignored  Beeson's  impudent  letter,  but 
on  the  22d  of  March  he  replied  to  Governor  Tyler.  That  let- 
ter was  destroyed  by  fire,  but  from  his  executive  memoranda 
I  find  that  he  refused  to  comply  with  the  demand,  for  the 
chief  reason  that  the  law  of  Congress  concerning  fugiti\^es  from 


FIRST   FUGITIVE   SLAVE   CASE   IN   OHIO — SMITH.        99 

labor  did  not  authorize  the  executive  of  a  State  to  interfere 
with  the  apprehension  of  slaves. 

The  case  did  not  end  here.  The  original  claim  of  Beeson  for 
the  rendition  of  a  fugitive  from  service  was  abandoned,  and  a 
formal  application  made  for  the  delivery  of  Jane  as  a  fugitive 
from  justice.  The  letter  of  Governor  Tyler  accompanying  the 
papers  is  suflSciently  formal  and  explicit: 

EiCHMOND,  April  26th,  1810, 
Sir  :  I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  to  your  excellency  copies,  duly  authen- 
ticated, of  the  proceedings  of  the  court  of  Brooke  County,  in  this  Com- 
monwealth, on  the  trial  of  Jane,  a  negro  woman  slave,  late  the  property 
of  Joseph  Tomlinson,  jr.,  a  citizen  of  the  said  Commonwealth,  now  said 
to  be  in  the  State  of  Ohio ;  and  of  an  advice  of  the  council  of  State, 
authorizing  a  demand  of  the  delivery  up  of  the  said  slave  as  a  fugitive 
from  justice;  and  an  appointment  of  Jacob  Beeson,  esquire,  as  an  agent 
on  the  part  of  this  State  to  make  of  your  excellency  the  said  demand.  I 
have  therefore  to  request  that  you  will  be  pleased  to  cause  the  said  slave 
to  be  arrested  and  delivered  up  to  the  said  Jacob  Beeson,  according  to  the 
Constitution  and  laws  of  the  United  States  in  such  cases  provided. 
I  am,  with  great  respect,  your  excellency's  obedient  servant, 

Jno.  Tyler. 
The  Governor  of  the  State  of  Ohio. 

The  law  under  which  this  demand  for  the  arrest  and  return 
of  a  fugitive  from  justice  was  made,  Governor  Huntington  held, 
as  did  two  other  governors  of  the  State  of  Ohio  in  subsequent 
years,  left  little  discretion  to  the  executive  upon  whom  the 
requisition  was  made.  He  therefore  directed  a  warrant  to 
issue  to  John  Clarke,  of  Marietta,  on  the  21st  of  May,  who 
arrested  and  delivered  the  negro  woman  to  the  agent  of  Vir- 
ginia. 

The  last  Virginia  executive  record  bearing  on  this  case  reads 
as  follows: 

Saturday,  June  23rd,  1810.  The  governor  laid  before  the  board  a  letter 
from  Jacob  Beeson,  esq.,  stating  that  he  had  reclaimed  the  negro  woman 
Jane,  late  the  property  of  Joseph  Tomlinson,  which  negro  had  been  con- 
victed of  felony,  and  by  the  court  of  Brooke  County  condemned  to  be 
hanged,  but  was  reprieved  for  transportation  by  the  executive,  and  after- 
wards escaped  to  the  State  of  Ohio ;  and  the  said  Joseph  Tomlinson,  having 
received  payment  from  the  Conmionwealth,  and  released  all  his  right  to 
the  said  slave,  and  the  executive  taking  the  case  of  the  said  slave  again 
into  consideration,  do  advise  an  absolute  pardon  of  her.  And  it  is  further 
advised  that  the  said  Jacob  Beeson  be  authorized  and  requested  to  sell 
the  said  slave  for  the  best  price  he  can  obtain,  either  by  private  or  public 
sale  on  a  credit  not  exceeding  twelve  months,  and  pay  the  proceeds 
thereof,  when  collected,  into  the  public  treasury. 


f 

100  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Thus  the  law  requiring  the  transportation  of  a  condemned 
slave  beyond  the  limits  of  the  United  States  was  negatived 
by  an  executive  pardon,  and  a  way  was  opened  for  Jacob  Bee- 
son  to  acquire  what  he  coveted.  And  in  June,  1810,  Jane  and 
her  child  disappeared  in  the  Cimmerian  darkness  of  slavery. 


L-THE  PRESENT  STATUS  OF  PRE-COLUMBIAN  DISCOVERY  OF 
AMERICA  BY  NORSEMEN. 


By  HON.  JAMES  PHINNEY  BAXTER, 

OF  PORTLAND,  MAnTE. 


101 


THE    PRESENT   STATUS  OF   PRE-COLUMBIAN    DISCOVERY    OF 
AMERICA  BY  THE  NORSEMEN. 


By  James  Phinney  Baxter. 


A  great  deal  has  been  written  during  the  past  few  years 
respecting  the  pre-Columbian  discovery  of  America  by  the 
Norsemen  near  the  close  of  the  tenth  century ;  indeed,  there 
has  been  a  renaissance  of  mythical  lore  respecting  this  much 
bewritten  subject,  so  that  one  may  well  shrink  from  ventur- 
ing to  rehabilitate  these  shadowy  figures,  which  hover  on  the 
uncertain  line  which  separates  triadition  from  history. 

When  the  sagas  of  Biarni,  of  Leif,  of  Thorvald,  and  others 
came  to  light,  they  were,  indeed,  a  godsend  to  historical  enthu- 
siasts, who  not  only  accepted  them  as  veritable  history,  but, 
with  remarkable  facility,  ascribed  to  Norse  creation  all  arch- 
aeological remains  of  doubtful  origin,  which  they  encountered. 

Eude  characters  wrought  upon  rocks  along  the  New  Eng- 
land coast  by  aboriginal  artists,  altered  not  only  by  time, 
whose  keen  chisel  is  never  inactive;  but  possibly,  nay  cer- 
tainly, by  mischievous  hands,  were  easily  seen  to  be  Eunic 
characters,  and  the  lines  of  rocks  piled  along  the  beach  by 
the  fierce  rush  of  stormy  seas,  were  described  as  the  handi- 
work of  men,  presumable  Norse. 

When  one  considers  the  failures  of  these  enthusiasts,  among 
whom  were  several  able  men,  in  their  attempts  to  convince  the 
world  of  the  existence  of  Norse  remains  in  New  England,  one 
can  hardly  wonder  at  Bancroft's  contemptuous  treatment  of 
the  subject.  At  the  time  when  he  wrote,  these  men  were  pos- 
ing as  the  expositors  of  the  sagas,  and  the  proofs,  which  they 
adduced,  were  not  of  a  nature  to  merit  the  serious  regard  of  a 
man  like  our  historian. 

The  objects  to  which  they  pointed  with  the  greatest  assur- 
ance were  the  stone  mill  at  Newport,  and  the  Dighton  rock. 
Learned  treatises  were  written  by  architectural  amateurs  to 

103 


104  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

prove  the  Norse  origin  of  tlie  Newport  wonder,  and  its  struc- 
tural analogies  to  similar  European  buildings,  accompanied  by 
elaborate  drawings  to  show  how  it  looked  to  Norse  eyes.  To 
these,  theoretical  additions  were  added  by  others,  and  had  not 
some  bookish  man  shown  by  indubitable  proof  that  it  was  built 
by  the  emigrant  Arnold,  after  the  model  of  a  like  stone  struc- 
ture in  his  native  English  town,  we  should  have  had  in  time 
on  the  soil  of  New  England  another  tower  of  Babel. 

But  the  Dighton  rock  was  left,  and  it  bore  an  inscription, 
a  Eunic  inscription,  and  a  learned  professor  had  translated  it. 
How  simply  it  read.  Its  very  simplicity,  so  much  in  harmony 
with  the  rugged  Norse  character,  was  sufficient  in  itself  to 
prove  its  genuineness.  It  told  of  the  landing  of  Thorfinn, 
the  number  of  his  men,  and  bore  a  representation  of  his  wife, 
and  of  their  child  born  after  landing.  Who  would  have  the 
temerity  to  question  this  record?  Yet,  to-day,  what  student 
of  American  aboriginal  rock  writing  but  smiles  at  the  strange 
delusion  of  the  disciples  of  Eafn,  when  brought  face  to  face 
with  this  interesting  relic  of  our  red- skinned  predecessors? 
Such  delusions,  however,  are  not  singular.  The  history  of  the 
world  abounds  with  them. 

One  would  have  supposed  that  such  signal  instances  of  fail- 
ure would  have  discouraged  similar  attempts  5  but  such  is  not 
the  case,  and  a  new  crop  of  Norsemaniacs,  more  zealous  than 
their  predecessors,  has  taken  their  place.  Like  them,  these 
sciolists  seize  upon  every  archaic  relic  of  doubtful  origin  to 
support  their  favorite  postulate,  and,  like  them,  they  press 
etymology,  that  facile  science  for  theoretic  display,  into  their 
service  with  a  boldness  that  commands  admiration. 

Of  relics,  stone  mortars,  such  as  our  Indians  used,  old  horn 
spoons  and  debris  of  indescribable  kinds,  with  nothing  to  indi- 
cate their  age  or  origin,  are  brought  forward  as  of  Norse  fab- 
rication; and,  most  astounding  of  all,  the  remains  of  a  great 
city  have  been  discovered  near  Boston;  a  Norse  city,  and  its 
name  was  Norumbega;  that  name  which  the  bibulous  French- 
man, stranded  at  a  temperance  hotel  in  Maine,  was  told,  as  he 
admired  it  upon  the  swinging  sign  over  the  door,  was  the  orig- 
inal name  of  the  Pine-Tree  State,  and  who,  reading  it  with  the 
stress  upon  the  second  and  fourth  syllables,  was  moved  to  ex- 
claim: ^' Well  named  from  the  first." 

Of  course  we  are  all  glad  to  learn  that  the  location  of  No- 
rumbega  is  at  last  settled,  and  that  Massachusetts  has  it.    It 


DISCOVERY  OF  AMERICA  BY  NORSEMEN BAXTER.       105 

has  been  an  insufferable  nuisance  to  Maineacs  with  historical 
tendencies.  We  are  glad  to  hear  of  its  unexampled  extent 
and  the  nature  of  its  ancient  traffic,  themes  which  furnish  the 
enterprising  journals  of  the  day  with  picturesque  oppor- 
tunities for  description.  We  are  glad  to  know  that  the  pulpit 
has  a  new  subject  with  which  to  attack  sin;  a  great  city  right 
in  Massachusetts,  with  its  immense  canals  floating  lumber 
from  the  interior  to  its  splendid  docks  and  wharves,  whence  it 
went  on  ships  full  laden  to  far  outland  havens;  a  city,  in  spite 
of  its  prosperity,  which  came  to  nought  through  ungodliness. 
The  fate  of  these  ungodly  Korumbegans,  who  married  and 
were  given  in  marriage  with  the  Canaanites  about  them,  may 
prove  a  timely  warning  to  bad  Bostonians,  while  the  good,  it  is 
to  be  hoped,  may  not  vaunt  themselves  overmuch  because  they 
were  especially  raised  up  by  Providence  to  succeed  the  wicked 
Korumbegans.  Such  is  the  story  recently  told  to  an  approv- 
ing audience,  of  "The  Norseman  and  the  Puritan." 

But  perhaps  etymology  may  be  made  to  yield  still  better 
results.  It  is  still  remembered  with  what  calm  confidence  the 
learned  Mather  derived  the  Algonquin  word  Naumkeag,  the 
aboriginal  name  for  the  home  of  Endicot,  from  the  Hebrew 
Nahum-keik,  the  bosom  of  consolation,  which  he  believed, 
with  his  usual  inflexibility  of  faith,  was  proof  conclusive  of 
Algonkin  descent  from  Heber;  and  why  should  we  be  sur- 
prised to  learn  that  Americus  Yespucius  did  not  give  his  name 
to  the  continent,  but  Eric,  the  ruddy  sire  of  Leif,  whose  name 
America  preserves  in  its  two  middle  sylables,  like  a  fly  in 
amber  or  one  of  Mr.  Donnelly's  cryptographs?  We  are  not 
surprised  to  find  that  we  have  been  misinformed  as  to  the  first 
name  of  Yespucius,  and  that  he  is  no  longer  A-meri-cus,  but  a 
sad  one  rapidly  passing  to  a  merited  oblivion. 

But  while  on  the  name  of  Eric  may  we  not,  in  behalf  of 
Maine,  which  ought  to  have  a  share  in  the  Norseman  since  it 
was  once  a  part  of  Massachusetts,  remark  that  it  appears  on 
the  Maine  coast  in  the  region  of  the  Sagadahoc,  one  instance 
of  which  may  be  cited,  namely,  Mericoneag,  the  Abnaki  name 
of  the  peninsular  whereon  Harpswell  now  flourishes?  May 
not  this  have  been  named  in  honor  of  another  Eric,  the  first 
bishop  of  Yinland?  This  theory  is  supported  by  names  in  the 
vicinity,  especially  by  the  names  of  the  rivers  near  by,  known 
as  the  Sagadahoc  and  Pjepscot,  or  Bishop's  Cot,  as  the  English 
recorded  it.    Why  may  not  the  humble  home  or  cot  of  the 


106  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

good  Korse  Bishop,  Eric,  have  been  at  the  latter  place?  What 
reflections  this  may  furnish  to  our  Eoman  Catholic  friends. 
How  wonderfully  Father  Biard's  steps  were  guided  to  this 
region  so  near  the  spot  where  the  seeds  of  faith  had  been 
sowed  by  Bishop  Eric.  The  soil  had  already  been  prepared 
for  him  in  the  hearts  of  these  Norse  Abnakians  in  this  obscure 
region,  and  the  little  river  Pjepscot  all  at  once  assumes  an 
important  place  in  the  new  history  of  '^Em-Eric-a,"  as  it  is  to 
be  henceforth  pronounced  by  all  good  Norsemaniacs. 

Allusion  has  been  made  to  the  Sagadahoc.  In  this  new 
method  of  writing  history  we  are  told  that  Sagamore,  the  title 
of  an  Abnaki  chief,  is  a  corruption  of  Sagaman,  a  person 
among  Korsefolk  also  occupying  a  chief  place.  Truly  sug- 
gestive was  this  to  one  person  at  least  when,  awhile  ago,  the 
Maine  Historical  Society  met  on  the  heights  at  the  mouth  of 
the  beautiful  Sagadahoc— Saga-da-hoc,  the  Saga-height  or 
high  place — and  he  reflected,  may  not  this  be  the  very  spot 
where  the  Norse  Abnaki  Sagamores  were  wont  to  meet  and 
enjoy  their  sagas,  a  much  nobler  occupation  than  that  of  the 
historians  who  had  usurped  their  place  to  rest  and  enjoy  their 
segars? 

Time  will  not  permit  a  further  pursuit  of  this  branch  of  the 
subject,  but  it  is  proper  to  remark  that,  if  we  adopt  this  method 
in  our  study  of  etymology,  we  shall  find  in  the  Abnaki  branch 
of  the  Algonkin  tongue,  words  having  great  similarity  of  sound 
to  certain  Chinese  words,  as  well  as  to  words  of  other  tongues, 
and  may  expect  to  see  come  to  the  front  Li  Yen's  story  of  the 
Chinese  discovery  in  the  seventh  century  of  Fusang,  or  Amer- 
ica, which  was  said  to  be  numerous  "lis"  from  the  Celestial 
Empire,  and  lest  some  one  may  not  know  what  a  "li"  is,  it  may 
be  well  to  observe  that  it  is  a  Chinese  term  for  a  measure  of 
distance. 

But  leaving  this  perhaps  too  fruitful  branch  of  the  subject, 
may  we  not  more  profitably  occupy  ourselves  with  what  a  recent 
writer,  who  is  evidently  an  admirer  of  the  etymological  method, 
terms  the  "bookish"  method  of  research,  by  which  is  meant 
the  method  of  seeking  historical  evidence  in  written  or  printed 
documents  ?  As  a  matter  of  fact,  neither  archaeology,  ethnology, 
nor  etymology  at  present  yields  satisfactory  support  to  the 
Sagas  relating  to  the  discovery  of  America,  if  we  except  the 
remnants  of  former  habitations  found  on  the  coast  of  Green- 
land, where  the  Sagas  located  Ericsfiord,  that  erewhile  mythical 


DISCOVERY  OF  AMERICA  BY  NORSEMEN — BAXTER.       107 

haven  from  wbich  the  Norse  heroes  sailed  for  Yinland.  The 
importance  of  this  discovery  is  acknowledged.  We  may  also 
acknowledge  ourselves  to  be  believers  in  the  Sagas,  founding 
our  belief  largely  upon  the  internal  evidence  of  truth  which 
they  possess.  The  Sagas  are  all  that  we  have  to  bridge  the 
wide  gap  between  the  ISTorse  occupation  of  Greenland  and  the 
discovery  of  America  by  Columbus.  For  more  than  a  century 
and  a  half  they  were  not  reduced  to  writing,  but  were  repeated 
orally  by  men  trained  for  the  purpose  of  perpetuating  and  dif- 
fusing the  knowledge  of  historical  events.  They  can  not,  there- 
fore, be  properly  regarded  as  history,  and  anything  which  may 
yield  them  external  support  will  always  be  welcomed  by  his- 
torical students. 

Believing  that  in  Eoman  Catholic  archives  something  relat- 
ing to  the  Norse  adventurers  to  the  New  World  might  be 
discovered,  the  author  went  to  Kome  sometime  since,  bearing 
suitable  credentials,  for  the  purpose  of  pursuing  investigations 
in  the  Vatican,  and,  though  his  efforts  were  unsatisfactory,  he 
still  entertains  hope,  that  facts  having  an  important  bearing 
upon  this  subject,  may  be  found  in  Eoman  Catholic  archives. 
One  fact  may  be  here  presented  as  furnishing  a  proof  of  the 
verity  of  the  sagas. 

The  policy  of  the  Eoman  Pontiffs  has  ever  been  to  extend 
the  dominion  of  the  church  over  the  whole  earth  -,  hence  the 
discovery  of  a  new  land,  in  which  they  could  plant  the  seeds 
of  the  Eoman  faith,  has  never  failed  to  be  regarded  as  an  event 
of  much  importance.  Such  newly  discovered  lands  were 
regarded  as  the  spiritual  property  of  the  church,  and  as  soon 
as  practicable,  they  were  brought  under  her  fostering  care; 
hence  we  should  expect  to  find  in  the  church  archives  refer- 
ences to  such  discoveries. 

Let  us  go  back  to  a  date  previous  to  the  Norse  colonization 
of  Iceland,  which  is  set  down  in  the  Crymogaea  of  Arngrim 
Jonas  as  A.  D.  874;  say  to  the  year  A.  D.  830,  at  which  period 
Gregory  Fourth  occupied  the  papal  throne.  The  world  knew 
nothing  at  this  time  of  Iceland,  nor  of  any  larger  land  west  of 
Norway  above  the  sixth  circle.  In  this  year  we  find  Gregory 
confirming  Auscarius  as  the  first  archbishop  of  Hamburg, 
Christianity  having  been  introduced  into  Denmark  but  three 
years  previous.  To  the  north  lay  Sweden  and  Norway  in  the 
darkness  of  paganism.  Thirty  years  later,  the  Eoman  congre- 
gation having,  without  doubt,  planted  the  banner  of  the  church 


108  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

in  Sweden  5  Pope  I^icholas  First,  who  had  succeeded  Gregory, 
invested  Auscarius  as  his  legate,  and  in  doing  so  defined  his 
jurisdiction.  It  is  no  longer  confined  to  Hamburg  and  indefinite 
territory  beyond,  but  is  extended  over  the  Swedes  as  well  as 
"  over  any  other  nations  in  those  parts  to  whom  the  mercy  of 
God  shall  open  a  way." 

In  the  year  874  A.  D.,  Iceland  was  colonized  j  but  the  church 
had  not  reached  Norway,  and  it  is  not  until  the  year  948  A.  D. 
that  we  find  this  country  mentioned  in  pontifical  annals.  At 
this  time  Agapetus  occupied  the  pontifical  chair,  and  Arch- 
bishop Adalgarus  was  granted  jurisdiction,  not  only  over 
Swedes  and  Danes,  but  also  over  I^Torwegians  and  all  other 
countries  to  the  north,  and  we  may  expect,  that  ere  long,  the 
star  of  church  empire,  holding  its  way  westward,  may  reach 
Iceland.  Nor  are  we  disappointed  in  this,  for  following  along 
to  the  reign  of  Pope  Benedict  Eighth  in  the  year  1022  A.  D. 
we  find  him  enlarging  the  jurisdiction  of  the  see  of  Hamburg. 
Heretofore  it  had  comprised  the  Swedes,  Danes,  and  Nor- 
wegians, and  now  the  Icelanders  are  taken  in  as  well  "as  all 
islands  adjacent  unto  the  countries  aforesaid." 

We  become  interested  in  this  progress  of  the  church  west- 
ward and  are  fain  to  follow  it. 

Greenland  had  been  discovered  in  982  A.  D.  by  Eric,  but  at 
this  date,  1022  A.  D.,  had  not  been  mentioned  in  pontifical 
documents.  The  author  is  aware  that,  according  to  certain 
German  codices,  Auscarius  and  his  successor  Eembert,  who 
flourished  in  the  ninth  century,  were  given  by  popes  Gregory 
Fourth  and  Nicholas  First  legatine  powers  over  both  Iceland 
and  Greenland,  but  they  are  not  supported  by  pontifical  docu- 
ments, nor  by  the  best  codices  of  Paris  and  Corbie  j  and  as 
neither  Iceland  nor  Greenland  had  been  colonized  at  the  date 
mentioned,  they  may  properly  be  regarded  as  erroneous. 

The  church  has  now  reached  Iceland,  and  is  following  a  lit- 
tle behind  geographical  discovery. 

The  year  1053  A.  D.  opens,  and  Leo  the  Ninth  reigns  at 
Eome.  Christianity  in  its  Eoman  garb  has  reached  Greenland, 
and  the  people  there  have  become  amenable  to  its  influence. 
The  jurisdiction  of  Archbishop  Adalbert  has  heretofore  been 
nominally  limited  on  the  west  to  Iceland,  but  now  the  pope 
enlarges  it  so  as  not  only  to  embrace  Denmark,  Sweden,  and 
Norway,  Iceland,  and  Lapland  but  also  Greenland,  as  well  as 
"  all  northern  nations  and  certain  portions  of  adjacent  Slavia." 


DISCOVERY  OF  AMERICA  BY  NORSEMEN— ^BAXTER.       109 

ThiSy  according  to  Migne^sPatrology  of  the  Latin  Fathers,  is  the 
first  mention  of  Greenland  in  pontifical  documents.  Having 
reached  Greenland,  we  have  come  to  the  end  of  the  history  of 
geographical  discovery  toward  the  west  until  we  resume  it  in 
Columbian  chronicles.  If,  however,  America  was  discovered 
by  the  Norsefolk  at  the  close  of  the  tenth  century,  as  we  are 
told  it  was  by  the  sagas,  should  we  not  find  the  same  kind  of 
evidence  of  the  fact  in  the  annals  of  the  Eoman  Catholic  Church, 
which  we  have  already  found  respecting  the  discovery  of  Ice- 
land and  Greenland'?  We  have  seen  that  in  1053  A.  D.  the 
jurisdiction  of  Archbishop  Adalbert,  of  Hamburg,  was  extended 
by  Pope  Leo  IX  to  include  Greenland.  In  1055,  by  a  bull  of 
Pope  Victor  XI,  the  same  jurisdiction  was  continued  to  Arch- 
bishop Adalbert,  who  died  in  1072. 

The  legatine  powers  of  the  see  of  Hamburg  had  become  so 
extensive  as  to  make  it  convenient  to  erect  an  archbishopric 
at  Lund,  in  Sweden,  in  1104,  and  Greenland  was  placed  under 
its  jurisdiction;  and  as  the  bishops  of  Iceland  could  not  exer- 
cise inspection  over  its  ecclesiastical  affairs,  it  became  desira- 
ble to  have  bishops  of  its  own;  hence  in  1106,  a  bishopric  was 
erected  at  Holum,  and  its  charge  committeed  to  Eric  Gnup- 
son.  After  this  date  we  lose  sight  of  this  man  until  1112, 
when  he  appears  in  Greenland,  superintending  for  several 
years  after  this  date  the  ecclesiastical  affairs  of  the  country. 
During  this  period  there  appears  no  evidence  that  he  had 
received  his  appointment  from  Rome,  or  been  duly  consecrated 
to  his  office.  In  1121,  however,  Calixtus  Second,  then  occupy- 
ing the  papal  throne,  he  received  consecration  from  Archbishop 
Adzer,  of  Lund,  and  had  committed  to  his  care  not  only  Green- 
land but  Yinland.  To  this  latter  country,  where  a  colony  is 
said  to  have  emigrated  from  Greenland,  Bishoi)  Eric  is  said 
to  have  gone  to  take  under  his  protection  the  ecclesiastical 
affairs  of  the  new  colony.  If  this  is  not  true,  we  may  expect 
to  be  able  to  follow  Bishop  Eric's  subsequent  career,  but  this 
we  find  ourselves  unable  to  do,  for  he  vanishes  utterly  from 
view.  lN"o  record  of  his  death  appears,  while  an  examination 
of  the  church  history  of  the  time,  reveals  the  important 
fact,  that  Greenland  was  without  a  bishop,  and  in  1123 
made  an  application  for  one,  which  was  granted,  and  the 
next  year  Arnald  was  consecrated  at  Lund  by  Archbishop 
Adzer  to  fill  the  bishopric  left  vacant  by  Eric.  Although 
some  obscurity  exists  with  relation  to  these  transactions,  they 


110  AMEKICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

certainly  afford  very  important  support  to  the  truth  of  the 
sagas,  and  it  is  hoped  that  further  evidence  of  their  truth 
may  yet  be  discovered  in  Eoman  Catholic  archives.  Of  course 
I  should  not  forget  Adam  of  Bremen,  whose  reference  to  Yin- 
land  is  always  quoted.  Archbishop  Adalbert,  who  occupied 
the  see  of  Hamburg  from  the  year  1045  to  1072,  was  the  patron 
and  personal  friend  of  the  historian,  whose  work,  Gesta  Pon- 
tificium  Ecclesiae  Hamburgensis  was  completed  in  1075.  Of 
the  good  Bishop,  Adam  always  speaks  with  affection  and 
reverence.  He  says  that  "he  was  so  grand,  so  generous,  so 
hospitable,  so  desirous  of  divine  and  human  glory,  that  little 
Bremen,  having  become  known  by  his  virtue  like  another 
Eome,  was  devoutly  resorted  to  from  all  quarters  of  the  earth, 
especially  from  the  north."  Among  the  comers  were  Iceland- 
ers, Greenlanders,  and  Orcadeans,  inhabitants  of  the  Orkneys, 
who  came  to  ask  for  preachers.  It  is  probable  that  the  arch- 
bishop himself  journeyed  as  far  west  as  Greenland,  as  on  one 
occasion,  when  dispatching  Islef,  the  first  bishop  of  Scaltholtd 
to  his  charge,  he  sent  by  him  letters,  like  those  of  the  earlier 
apostles,  to  the  people  of  Iceland  and  Greenland,  saluting  their 
churches  with  veneration,  and  promising  to  visit  them  soon, 
glorying  that  these  countries  had  received  the  faith  by  his 
efforts.  When  we  realize  the  close  intimacy  existing  between 
these  men,  and  their  high  character,  these  familiar  words, 
which  Adam  uses  to  convey  to  us  what  Archbishop  Adalbert 
said  to  him  respecting  Yinlaud,  receive  additional  force. 
"He  spoke,"  says  he,  "also  of  another  island  found  in  that 
ocean  called  Winland,  because  vines  grew  there  spontaneously, 
yielding  excellent  wine.  For  that  fruits  grow  there  spon- 
taneously we  know,  not  from  fabulous  report,  but  for  certain, 
from  the  reports  of  the  Danes."  This  was  written  many  years 
before  the  time  of  Eric  Gnupson,  that  important  figure  in  any 
story  of  North  American  discovery  by  Norsemen  which  may 
be  constructed.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  researches  of 
students  may  yet  bring  to  light  much  more  respecting  him. 


XL-PRINCE  HENRY,  THE  NAVIGATOR. 


By  PROFESSOR  EDWARD  GAYLORD  BOURNE, 
OP  ADELBERT  COLLEGE. 


Ill 


PRINCE  HENRY,  THE  NAVIGATOR. 


By  Edwakd  Gaylord  Bourne. 


The  various  commemorations  of  the  discovery  of  the  New 
World  during  the  past  year  have  quickened  the  historical 
instincts  of  every  student,  and  as  the  momentous  nature  of  the 
event  in  the  history  of  the  world  becomes  more  vividly  appa- 
rent the  essentially  historical  problem  to  learn  how  it  all  came 
about  becomes  more  and  more  fascinating. 

Two  lines  of  influence  combined  to  convince  Columbus  that 
his  project  was  practicable — the  speculative  views  of  Aristotle, 
Strabo,  and  Toscanelli,  and  the  results  of  the  Portuguese 
explorations  off  the  coast  of  Africa,  which  at  every  step  win- 
nowed the  geographical  tradition  of  its  terrifying  chaff.  With- 
out the  labors  of  Prince  Henry,  Columbus  might  not  have 
ventured,  but  without  Columbus  America  would  have  been 
discovered  only  eight  years  later  by  Cabral  as  the  inevitable 
result  of  Prince  Henry's  work.  Few  careers  have  been  more 
extraordinary  in  the  range  of  their  influence  on  history,  and 
yet  comparatively  little  attention  has  been  given  to  his  efforts 
and  their  consequences  in  the  abundant  literature  of  the  past 
few  months  on  the  discoveries.  In  this  brief  paper  I  shall  try 
to  determine  as  exactly  as  possible  what  Prince  Henry's  aims 
were,  and  what  prompted  his  course  of  action,  presenting  in 
conclusion  some  consideration  of  his  character  and  personal 
influence. 

*Thi8  paper  is  based  on  the  following  contemporary  sources: 

Dioguo  Gomez.  De  Prima  Inventione  Guineae,  in  Dr.  Schmeller's  Ueber 
Valenti  Fernandez  Alema. 

Chronica  do  Descobrimento  e  Conquista  de  Guin6,pelo  Chronista  Gomez 
Eannes  de  Azurara.     Paris,  1841. 

Alguns  Documentos  da  Torre  do  Tombo.    Lisbon,  1892. 

Bullarum  CoUectio.     Lisbon,  1707. 

The  citations  from  contemporary  documents  in  the  valuable  notes  in: 
A  Escola  de  Sagres  e  as  Tradigoes  do  Infante  D.  Henrique,  pelo  Marquez 
de  Souza  Holstein.     Lisbon,  1877. 

These  two  modern  lives  of  Prince  Henry  have  also  been  of  great  service : 
R.  H.  Major,  Prince  Henry  the  Navigator,  London,  1868;  and  G.  de  Veer, 
Prinz  Heinrich  der  Seefahrer.    Leipzig,  1864 

113 
S.  Mis.  104 8 


114  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

The  earliest  authentic  statement  of  Prince  Henry^s  aims 
that  I  have  found,  and  one  which  may  be  taken  as  his  own,  is 
in  a  charter  of  King  Alphonso  V,  dated  October  22, 1443,  and 
published  recently,  I  think  for  the  first  time,  which  prohibits 
any  one  from  making  a  voyage  beyond  Cape  Bojador  without 
permission  from  the  prince.  The  passage  reads:  "We  make 
known  to  all  who  see  this  charter  that  the  Infant  Dom  Anrrique 
my  much  esteemed  and  beloved  Uncle  believing  that  he  would 
do  service  to  our  Lord  and  to  Us  set  about  sending  his  ships 
to  learn  of  the  world  beyond  Cape  Bojador,  since  till  that  time 
there  was  no  one  in  Christendom  who  knew  about  it,  nor  did 
they  know  whether  there  were  people  there  or  not,  nor  in  the 
sea-charts  and  maps  was  anything  beyond  Cape  Bojador 
depicted  except  what  seemed  good  to  the  makers.  And  since 
it  was  a  doubtful  matter,  and  since  men  did  not  venture  to  go, 
he  sent  thither  fourteen  times  till  he  knew  about  part  of  that 
region,  and  they  brought  him  thence  on  two  occasions  some 
thirty-eight  Moors  and  he  ordered  a  chart  made,  and  he  told 
us  that  his  plan  was  to  send  his  ships  further  to  learn  of  that 
region."* 

One  reason  for  saying  that  this  may  be  taken  as  Prince 
Henry^s  own  statement  is  that  Alphonso  was  only  twelve 
years  of  age,  and  Henry  was  one  of  his  guardians.  The  same 
aim  is  asserted  in  another  charter  of  Alphonso,  dated  Febru- 
ary 3, 1846,t  and  directly  by  Prince  Henry  himself  in  Decem- 
ber, 1458,  except  that  in  the  latter  one  the  field  of  discovery 
begins  from  Cape  Ii^on.f 

Gomez  Eannes  de  Azurara,  in  his  invaluable  contemporary 
chronicle  of  the  Discovery  and  Conquest  of  Guinea,  which 
was  written  in  1453,  reports  a  conversation  between  Prince 
Henry  and  Antonio  Goncalvez,  which  took  place  just  prior  to 
Goncalvez's  voyage  of  1443.  This,  whether  it  is  considered  as 
representing  Henry's  views  in  1442,  or  several  years  later, 
comes  next  in  order.  Goncalvez  was  desirous  of  exchanging 
the  Moors  he  had  just  captured  for  negroes.  He  urged  that 
from  the  negroes  they  could  gain  information  of  a  more  distant 
region,  and  that  he  would  make  every  effort  to  secure  such 
information.  Prince  Henry  replies  that  not  only  of  that  land 
did  he  desire  information,  but  also  of  the  Indies,  and  of  the 
land  of  Prester  John,  if  it  were  possible.  § 

*  Alguns  Docs.,  8.  t  Souza  Holstein,  p.  47. 

t  Ibid.,  9.  ^Alzurara,  94. 


PRINCE   HENRY,  THE   NAVIGATOR — BOURNE.         115 

In  the  bull  ot  Nicholas  Y,  January  8, 1454,  we  have  in  the 
preamble  historical  statements  unquestionably  supplied  by 
Prince  Henry  in  his  petition  to  the  Pope.  The  language  is 
very  similar  to  the  passages  just  cited,  yet  additional  facts  of 
importance  appear.  "  When  it  came  to  the  Infant's  knowledge 
that  never,  or  at  least  within  the  memory  of  man  had  it  been 
customary  to  make  voyages  through  the  ocean  Sea  of  the 
Southern  and  Eastern  Shores,  and  that  it  was  to  the  degree 
unknown  to  us  of  the  West  that  we  had  no  certain  knowledge 
of  the  people  of  these  parts,  believing  that  he  would  do  very 
great  service  to  God,  if  by  his  efforts  and  activity  the  Sea 
should  be  opened  to  his  ships  even  to  the  Indians  who  are  said 
to  worship  Christ  and  to  be  able  to  come  into  relations  with 
them  and  to  stir  them  to  help  the  Christians  against  the  Sara- 
cens and  other  enemies  of  the  faith  and  to  conquer  some  of  the 
Gentiles  or  heathen  living  between,  deeply  corrupted  with  the 
teaching  of  the  accursed  Mahomet  and  to  preach  to  them  the 
most  holy  name  of  Christ  as  yet  unknown,  he  has  since  twenty 
years  of  age  armed  with  royal  authority  not  ceased  to  send 
almost  yearly  a  force  from  the  people  of  these  kingdoms  with  the 
greatest  toils,  dangers  and  expense  in  very  swift  ships  called 
caravels,  to  explore  the  Sea  and  the  maratime  provinces  toward 
the  Southern  regions  and  the  Antarctic  Pole.  And  so  it  came 
to  pass  that,  when  ships  of  this  sort  had  explored  many 
islands,  harbors  and  the  Sea  adjacent  to  the  province  of  Guinea 
had  been  occupied,  they  sailed  further  and  reached  the  mouth 
of  a  certain  great  river  commonly  considered  the  Nile,  where 
against  the  people  of  those  regions  a  war  in  the  name  of  the 
King  Alphonso  and  the  Infant  existed  for  years,  and  in  it  many 
neighboring  islands  were  conquered  and  peacefully  possessed, 
as  they  remain  to  this  day  with  the  Sea  adjacent.  Thence 
also  many  people  of  Guinea  and  other  negroes  being  captured 
by  force  or  by  exchange  of  unprohibited  articles  or  some  other 
legitimate  contract  of  sale  have  been  transported  to  the  said 
kingdoms ;  of  whom  many  have  been  converted  to  the  Catholic 
faith  and  it  is  hoped  that  in  the  divine  mercy,  if  progress  of 
this  kind  continues  that  either  the  whole  people  will  be  con- 
verted to  the  Faith,  or  at  least  the  souls  of  many  be  gained 
for  Christ."* 

In  this  passage  we  see  clear  evidences  of  the  crusading  spirit 
in  Prince  Henry  alongside  of  that  of  scientific  curiosity.    The 

*  Bnllamm  collectio,pp.  18-20. 


116  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

same  spirit  at  times  dominated  Columbus,  but  manifested  itself 
in  the  impracticable  project  of  recovering  the  Holy  Sepulcher ; 
with  Prince  Henry  it  was  practical  and  aimed  at  the  conquest 
of  Africa.  Other  indications  of  the  strength  of  this  spirit  in 
Henry  will  be  noted  later.  This  passage  and  the  citation  from 
Azurara  clearly  reveal  that  Henry  planned  the  circumnaviga- 
tion of  Africa.  The  Indians  who  worshiped  Christ  are  obvi- 
ously the  subjects  of  Prester  John,  whose  kingdom  after  the 
thirteenth  century  was  commonly  supposed  to  be  in  East  Africa. 
From  this  time  on  to  reach  the  kingdom  of  Prester  John  was 
a  powerful  incentive  with  the  Portuguese.  Diaz  and  da  Gama 
were  on  the  lookout  for  him,  and  John  II  of  Portugal  sent 
ambassadors  to  him  overland.  This  legend  of  the  Middle  Ages 
far  more  powerfully  iDromoted  geographical  discovery  than  the 
speculations  of  alchemy  advanced  the  science  of  chemistry. 

That  Henry  was  confident  of  reaching  a  region  that  he  thought 
of  as  India,  whether  it  may  have  been  Eastern  Africa  or  India 
proper  again  appears  with  equal  clearness  from  the  narrative 
of  Diego  Gomez  of  his  voyage  of  1456.  When  he  was  in  the 
territory  of  a  certain  chief,  Batimansa,  south  of  the  Gambia, 
he  says,  ^'  I  wanted  to  make  an  experiment  by  sending  James, 
a  certain  Indian,  whom  the  Lord  Infant  sent  with  us,  so  that 
if  we  should  enter  India  we  might  have  an  interpreter.^'  * 

Azurara  in  his  invaluable  contem^Dorary  chronicle  gives,  in 
addition  to  the  reasons  above  mentioned,  the  following  motives 
of  Prince  Henry's  explorations :  The  desire  of  finding  Christians 
to  trade  with,  the  desire  of  learning  the  dimensions  of  the 
Moorish  power,  and  the  desire  of  extending  Christianity.t 

Diego  Gomez,  who  took  part  in  several  exi)editions  from 
1444-1463,  and  wrote  a  history  of  the  discovery  of  Guinea, 
sometime  before  1483,  entitled  ^'De  prima  Inventione  Guinese,'' 
throws  an  independent  Mght  on  Henry's  aims  and  methods.  A 
voyage  in  1415  ^'ad  inquirendum  partes  extraneas"  is  mentioned, 
and  Henry  is  said  to  have  sent  out  another  in  1416,  "desid- 
erans  scire  causam  tam  magni  maris  currentis."t 

When  Tristan  and  Goncalvez  brought  their  first  captives,  in 
1442,  Prince  Henry  carefully  examined  them  as  to  their  country 

*  Schmeller,  29. 

t  Chronica  de  Guiii€,  pp.  44-49. 

tEven  if  the  evidence  for  these  voyages  is  rejected,  the  statements  are 
of  value  in  showing  the  view  prevalent  when  Gomez  wrote  of  Prince 
Henry's  purposes. 


PRINCE   HENRY,  THE   NAVIGATOR — BOURNE.         117 

and  learned  the  route  to  Timbuctoo.  In  1444  Gongalo  de  Sintra 
and  Dinis  Dias  were  sent  out  and  were  enjoined  to  go  beyond 
Petra  Galeae,  to  see  if  they  could  find  other  languages  spoken. 
The  result  of  this  expedition  was  the  establishment  in  1445  of 
a  post  in  the  Island  of  Arguim.  Soon  after  this  the  Prince 
directed  his  commanders  to  avoid  strife  with  the  natives  and 
to  enter  into  peaceful  commercial  relations,  as  he  desired  to 
convert  them  to  Christianity. 

Another  citation,  interesting  from  the  excessive  emphasis 
upon  his  crusading  spirit,  maybe  made  before  I  close  this  part 
of  the  discussion.  Gomez  says  of  his  death,  "King  Alphonso 
was  then  in  the  City  of  Evora  and  he  was  very  sad,  together 
with  his  people,  at  the  death  of  so  great  a  lord,  because  all  the 
resources  that  he  had  and  that  he  derived  from  Guinea  he 
expended  in  war  and  in  continually  fitting  out  fleets  against  the 
Saracens  in  behalf  of  the  Christian  faith,* 

After  examining  thus  carefully  the  nature  of  Prince  Henry's 
aims,  I  propose  briefly  to  consider  what  influences  imjpelled  him 
to  a  course  of  action  so  exceptional  in  his  time,  yet  so  rich  in 
consequences.  What  was  it  that  first  turned  his  attention  to 
that  continent  which  has  preserved  its  mystery  longer  than 
any  other  part  of  the  world  except  the  Poles? 

Prince  Henry's  original  interest  in  Africa  is  generally  attri- 
buted to  his  experiences  in  the  campaign  of  Ceuta.  At  the  cap- 
ture of  this  fortress — the  African  counterpart  of  Gibraltar — he 
won  his  spurs.  We  are  informed  by  sources  emanating,  as  we 
have  seen,  from  Henry  himself  (the  *^  Bull  of  Nicholas  Y"  and 
his  own  statement  in  1458)  that  his  impulse  dated  from  the 
time  when  he  learned  that  the  Coast  of  Africa  south  of  Bojador 
had  never  been  explored.  When  this  fact  was  clear  to  him  it 
is  not  easy  to  say,  but  it  was  probably  not  earlier  than  the 
Ceuta  campaign. 

Barros  tells  us  that  at  the  capture  of  Ceuta,  as  at  other 
times  when  Henry  was  there,  he  always  made  inquiry  of  the 
Moors  in  regard  to  the  interior,  especially  the  parts  more  remote 
from  Fez  andMorroco.t  Gomez  says  that  when  Henry,  in  1415 
or  1416,  heard  of  the  flourishing  overland  trade  between  Tunis 
and  Timbuctoo  and  Cantor,  engaged  in  which  were  caravans 
numbering  sometimes  seven  hundred  camels,  he  sent  Gonzal 

*  Gomez,  32. 

t  Cited  from  Kunstmann's  Africa  vor  die  Entdecknngan  der  Portugiesen. 


118  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Yelho  to  investigate  those  regions  by  sea,  for  the  purpose  of 
having  commerce  with  them  and  for  the  support  of  his  nobles.* 
Once  started  on  his  work  Prince  Henry  availed  himself  of 
every  possible  source  of  information.  One  of  the  most  striking 
examples  is  the  instance  when  he  gathered  from  captive  Azen- 
egues  a  sufficiently  accurate  description  of  the  mouth  of  the 
Senegal  to  enable  his  sailors  to  recognize  the  stream  when 
they  saw  it  for  the  first  time.t  At  another  time  the  close 
agreement  between  information  brought  home  by  Gomez  and 
some  that  he  had  received  from  a  merchant  in  Oran  confirms 
his  belief  in  the  truth  of  both  reports.|  Prince  Henry  did  not 
neglect  literary  sources.  His  brother,  Dom  Pedro,  brought 
from  Venice  a  copy  of  Marco  Polo  and  a  map.  The  descrip- 
tion of  the  map  which  has  been  handed  down  by  Antonio  Gal- 
van,  who  wrote  a  history  of  the  discovery  about  1555,  is  palpa- 
bly greatly  exaggerated.§  But  it  probably  did  contain  a  fairly 
correct  outline  of  Africa,  such  as  we  find  in  the  so-called  Lau- 
rentian  Portulano  of  1351,  based  on  information  derived 
through  the  channels  of  land  trade,  just  as  Prince  Henry 
received  his  knowledge  of  the  Senegal.  The  familiar  map  of 
Fra  Mauro  of  1457-^59,  of  which  a  copy  was  made  for  Alphonso 
Y,  is  another  example  of  such  a  happy  combination  of  guess- 
work and  vague  reports.  If  we  can  trust  Damiao  Goes,  who 
wrote  about  the  middle  of  the  next  century,  Prince  Henry  was  a 
careful  student  of  the  ancient  geographers,  and  knew  of  the  sup- 
posed voyage  of  Hanno  around  Africa,  the  expedition  ordered 
by  Pharaoh  Necho,  and  the  report  given  by  Strabo  about  frag- 
ments of  Spanish  vessels  having  been  discovered  in  the  Eed 
Sea.  1 1    To  avail  himself  of  the  highest  maratime  skill,  he  invited 

*  Gomez,  p.  19.  The  following  from  the  narrative  of  Hieronymus 
Muenzer,  who  was  in  Portugal  in  1495,  is  evidently  based  on  this  passage 
from  Gomez  in  reference  with  the  trade  with  Timbuctoo : 

"Likewise  Henry  considering  his  father's  resources  not  sufficient  for  so 
great  expenses  gave  his  attention  to  the  exploration  of  unknown  lands. 
Knowing  indeed,  that  the  King  of  Tunis,  i.e.  Carthage,  derived  much 
gold  annually,  he  sent  his  explorers  to  Tunis,  and  was  informed  how  the 
King  of  Tunis  sent  merchandise  through  the  Atlas  Mountains  into  South- 
ern Ethipoia,  and  brought  back  gold  and  slaves.  This  which  the  King  of 
Tunis  for  many  years  had  been  able  to  do  by  land  he  tried  to  do  by  sea." 

See  Kunstmann  Hieronymus  Muenzers  Bericht  ueber  die  Entdeckung 
d»r  Guinea,  p.  60. 

t  Azurara,  p.  279.  §  Tradado.    Hakluyt  Soc,  ed.  66. 

t  Gomez,  p.  28.  ||  Souza  Holstein,  p.  23. 


PRINCE   HENRY,  THE   NAVIGATOR — BOURNE. 


119 


a  skillful  map-maker  and  instrument-maker  as  well  as  expert 
navigator,  Jayme  of  Majorca,  to  come  to  Portugal  to  instruct 
his  followers.*  This  seems  to  be  the  sole  evidence  of  the  exist- 
ence of  a  nautical  school  at  Sagres,  which  apparently  must  be 
given  up  if  any  systematic  institution  is  thought  of.  Similar 
is  the  case  with  the  alleged  foundation  of  a  chair  of  mathe- 
matics attributed  to  him  by  Major  and  others.  Prince  Henry's 
will,  first  published  after  Major  wrote,  gives  a  detailed  state- 
ment of  his  foundations,  and  mentions  many  churches  and 
bequest  to  a  chair  of  theology,  but  is  silent  about  any  nautical 
school  or  chair  of  mathematics. t 

The  main  line  of  results  of  Prince  Henry's  work  is  prob- 
ably familiar  to  most  of  my  readers.  As  I  indicated  in  the 
beginning,  his  work  removed  some  of  the  greatest  obstacles  to 
geographical  progress — the  fantastic  and  imaginary  terrors 
of  the  deep.  This  appeared  clearly  in  the  passage  of  Dioguo 
Gomez,  which,  with  its  reflection  of  contemporary  thought,  is 
more  forcible  than  any  modern  statement:  ^'  And  these  things 
which  are  written  here  are  put  down  with  all  respect  to  the 
most  illustrious  Ptolomy,  who  wrote  much  which  is  good  on 
the  parts  of  the  world,  but  in  regard  to  this  region  he  was 
wrong,  for  he  divides  the  world  into  three  parts — the  middle 
part  inhabited  J  the  northern  part  is  without  inhabitants,  he 
wrote,  on  account  of  the  excessive  cold  j  and  the  southern  part 
on  the  equator,  he  wrote,  is  uninhabited  on  account  of  the 
heat.  Kow,  of  all  these  things  we  found  just  the  contrary, 
because  the  Arctic  pole  is  inhabited  even  beyond  where  the 
pole  star  is  directly  overhead  j  and  the  equator  is  inhabited  by 
blacks,  where  there  is  such  a  multitude  of  tribes  that  it  is 
almost  not  to  be  believed;  and  that  the  southern  part  is  full  of 
trees  and  fruits,  but  the  fruits  are  different  and  the  trees  are 
incredibly  tall  and  large  j  and  I  say  this,  to  be  sure,  because  I 
have  seen  a  large  part  of  the  world,  but  never  the  like  of 
this."{ 

The  opening  of  the  Atlantic  to  continuous  exploration 
changed  the  center  of  gravity  of  the  civilized  world.  Western 
Europe,  so  many  centuries  the  frontier,  has  become  the  center; 
and  to  London,  the  Melbourne  of  Prince  Henry's  time,  has 

*  Barros,  Dec.  1,  hib.  1,  c.  16.     Codine,  2,  645. 
tThe  text  of  the  will  is  in  Souza  Holstein,  p.  77,  ff. 
t  Gomez,  23. 


120  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

been  given  the  destiny,  for  a  period  at  least,  to  be  the  world's 
commercial  capital;  and  to  England  the  inheritance  of  the 
Indies,  which  he  sought  to  reach.  The  priority  of  Henry's 
effort  to  explore  the  coast  of  Africa  has  been  disputed,  but  the 
case  with  him  is  much  as  it  is  with  Columbus  and  his  alleged 
precursors,  their  voyages  can  not  be  proved  or  disproved,  in 
any  case  they  have  no  determinable  relation  to  later  progress, 
while  as  in  Columbus's  case,  so  in  Prince  Henry's,  continuous 
knowledge  and  exploration  date  from  his  work.  Further,  the 
evidence  is  incontestable  that  Henry  and  at  least  most  of  his 
contemporaries  believed  him  to  be  a  pioneer  and  his  sailors  to 
be  the  first  to  go  beyond  Cape  Bojador.  Further  still,  it  is 
difficult  to  reconcile  their  positive  assertions  and  the  absence 
of  contemporary  evidence  to  the  contrary  with  the  modern 
history  of  French  voyages  resting  on  conjectures  as  to  the 
contents  of  documents  no  longer  extant. 

In  saying  a  few  words  in  closing  on  the  character  and  per- 
sonality of  Prince  Henry,  1  shall  mention  only  some  of  the 
more  striking  features.  No  reader  of  Azurara's  quaint  and 
charming  narrative  can  fail  to  see  that  Prince  Henry  was  a 
man  whose  force  of  character,  untiring  resolution,  and  gener- 
osity, exercised  an  immense  influence  over  his  followers,  inspir- 
ing them  with  zeal  and  boldness.  They  strained  every  effort 
to  win  his  approval,  and  he  possessed  their  unfaltering  alle- 
giance. He  interests  us  chiefly  as  the  organizer  of  discoveries. 
He  seems  so  devoted  to  that  as  sometimes  to  be  described 
as  a  patron  of  exploration.  But  to  his  contemporaries  he  is 
that  as  well  as  a  crusading  prince,  following  up  the  capture 
of  Ceuta  with  continual  onslaughts  upon  the  infidels;  a  milita- 
ry missionary,  the  commander  of  the  Order  of  Christ,  working 
to  plant  Christianity  in  Africa  and  the  islands  of  the  ocean;  as 
the  promoter  of  great  commercial  and  industrial  enterprises, 
controlling  the  Tunney  fisheries  of  Algarve,  the  coral  fisheries  of 
Portugal,  the  manufacture  and  sale  of  soap,  dye  factories,  and 
several  large  fairs.  He  also  controlled  the  whole  commerce  of 
the  west  coast  of  Africa,  letting  it  out  on  shares,  and  appar- 
ently establishing  the  first  commercial  company  of  modern 
times.*  As  a  soldier,  he  belongs  at  once  to  the  Middle  Ages 
and  to  Modern  Times.  He  fights  at  Ceuta  and  Tangiers  like  a 
medieval  knight  while  he  plans  a  mihtary  exploring  expedition 
like  a  modern  master  of  strategy.  His  plan  to  circumnavigate 
Africa  and  strike  the  Moors  from  behind,  in  conjunction  with 
*  Souza  Holstein,  53. 


PRINCE   HENRY,  THE   NAVIGATOR BOURNE.         121 

the  shadowy  Christina,  monarch  of  the  East,  is  Napoleonic. 
[One  may  ask  if  a  bolder  conception  was  given  air  between 
Alexander  the  Great  and  Napoleon. 

I  have  spoken  of  him  as  a  crusader  5  the  essence  of  the  Cru- 
sades was  the  aim  to  secure  the  predominance  of  Christianity. 
Prince  Henry's  work  indirectly  led  to  a  greater  predominance  of 
Christianity  than  he  could  have  imagined.  The  enrichment 
of  the  Old  World  and  the  occupation  of  the  New  by  the  dis- 
coverers has  vastly  increased  the  relative  predominance  of 
Christianity  in  the  world. 

But,  while  emphasizing  these  other  sides,  we  must  not  over- 
look Prince  Henry  as  a  true  lover  of  science,  with  an  unquench- 
able desire  to  find  out  the  secrets  of  the  earth,  which  actuated 
him  from  the  time  when,  at  twenty  years  of  age,  he  is  said 
to  have  sent  Gonzalo  Yelho  beyond  the  Canares  to  learn  the 
cause  of  the  swift  currents  of  the  sea. 

^^  Talent  de  bien  faire,"  the  desire  to  do  well,  was  his  motto. 
Ko  man  ever  chose  a  motto  of  more  singular  propriety,  and  no 
man  ever  lived  up  to  it  more  faithfully  than  did  Henry. 


XIL-THE  ECONOMIC  CONDITION  OF  SPAIN  IN  THE  SIXTEENTH 

CENTURY. 


By  PROFESSOR  BERNARD  MOSES, 

OF  THE  UlTIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA. 


123 


THE  ECONOMIC  CONDITION  OF  SPAIN  IN  THE  SIXTEENTH 

CENTURY. 


By  Bernard  Moses. 


At  this  time  I  shall  not  attempt  to  read  what  I  have  writ- 
ten on  the  topic  here  announced,  but  shall  confine  myself  to  a 
brief  statement  concerning  some  phases  of  the  subject  in  hand. 
At  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century,  Spain  stood,  in 
relation  to  the  other  nations  of  Europe,  economically  higher 
than  she  had  ever  stood  before  or  has  ever  stood  since. 
Between  1482  and  1700  her  population  declined  from  10,000,000 
to  6,000,000,  and  there  was  a  corresponding  decline  in  her  eco- 
nomical affairs.  A  conspicuous  cause  in  both  cases  was  the 
indolence  of  the  Spaniards  in  all  matters  except  war  on  com- 
merce. A  sign  of  Spain's  decay  was  the  decline  of  her  agri- 
culture. Foreseeing  the  evil  here  impending,  the  Government 
had,  in  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth  centuries,  undertaken  to 
exempt  from  seizure  animals  and  implements  emi^loyed  in  cul- 
tivation, except  under  certain  prescribed  conditions.  The 
council  of  Castile,  giving  an  account  of  the  state  of  the  realm 
in  the  beginning  of  the  seventeenth  century,  said  ^^the  agri- 
cultural districts  were  becoming  deserted,  and  the  inhabitants 
were  disappearing  and  leaving  the  fields  abandoned." 

The  depression  of  agriculture  was  further  intensified  by  the 
overthrow  of  the  Moriscos  in  the  Alpujarras,  and  their  final 
expulsion  from  the  Peninsula. 

In  1618,  a  few  years  after  the  expulsion  of  the  Moriscos,  a 
commission  called  to  propose  a  remedy  for  the  ruinous  condi- 
tion of  the  Kingdom,  began  its  memorial  to  the  King  with  the 
following  lamentation :  ^'  The  depopulation  and  want  of  people 
in  Spain  are  at  present  much  greater  than  ever  before  in  the 
reigns  of  any  of  your  Majesty's  progenitors;  it  being  in  truth 
so  great  at  this  time  that  if  God  do  not  provide  such  a  remedy 

125 


126  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

for  us  as  we  may  expect  from  your  Majesty^s  piety  and  wisdom, 
the  Crown  of  Spain  is  hastening  to  its  total  ruin ;  nothing  being 
more  visible  than  that  Spain  is  on  the  verge  of  destruction,  its 
houses  being  in  ruins  everywhere,  and  without  anybody  to 
rebuild  them,  and  its  towns  and  villages  lying  like  so  many 
deserts.'^  * 

It  was  of  great  importance  for  agriculture  that  the  means  of 
irrigation  which  the  Spaniards  found  established  in  the  districts 
taken  from  the  Moors  should  be  maintained  and  even  extended. 
But  the  conquerors  in  this  matter  appear  as  inefiBcient  succes- 
sors of  the  conquered.  Their  attempts  in  this  direction  were 
few  and  ineffectual. 

The  privileges  enjoyed  by  the  sheep-owners  who  were  repre- 
sented by  the  Council  of  Mesta  were  not  without  importance 
for  the  agriculture  of  Spain,  particularly  for  the  agriculture 
of  Estramadura.  When  the  Moors  had  been  expelled  from 
this  province,  the  cities  were  razed  and  the  inhabitants  were 
destroyed  or  driven  into  exile.  Peace  followed  the  war,  but  it 
was  the  peace  of  desolation.  "  Vast  tracts  previously  in  cul- 
tivation were  then  abandoned,  and  nature,  here  prolific,  soon 
obliterated  the  furrows  of  man,  resumed  her  rights,  covered  the 
soil  with  aromatic  weeds,  and  gave  it  up  to  the  wild  birds  and 
beasts.  *  *  *  Only  a  small  portion  of  the  country  was 
recultivated  by  the  lazy,  ignorant,  soldier  conquerors  5  and  the 
new  population,  scanty  as  it  was,  was  almost  swept  away  by 
the  plague  of  1348,  after  which  fifty  whole  districts  were  left 
unclaimed.  *  *  *  These  unclaimed,  uninhabited  pastur- 
ages at  last  attracted  the  attention  of  the  highland  shepherds 
of  Leon,  Segovia,  and  Molina  de  Aragon,  who  drove  down  their 
flocks  to  them  as  to  a  milder  winter  quarter;  hence  by  degrees 
a  prescriptive  right  of  agistment  was  claimed  over  these  com- 
mons, and  the  districts  at  last  were  set  apart  and  apportioned. 
This  feeding  their  flocks  at  the  expense  of  others  exactly  suited 
the  national  predilection  for  self,  and  as  the  profit  of  the  wool 
was  great,  and  long  one  of  the  most  productive  staples  of 
Spain,  the  flocks  naturally  multiplied,  and  with  them  their 
encroachments.  As  the  owners  were  powerful  nobles  and  con- 
vents, the  poor  peasants  in  vain  opposed  such  overwhelm- 
ing influence."  t    Gradually  the  population  of  Estramadura 


*  Geddes,  Miscellaneous  Tracts,  p.  163. 

t  Ford,  Hand-Book  for  Travelers  in  Spain,  London,  1845,  II,  p.  517. 


ECONOMIC   CONDITIONS   OF   SPAIN — MOSES.  127 

increased,  resulting  in  contests  between  the  wandering  shep- 
herds and  the  resident  cultivators.  In  1556,  a  compromise  was 
effected,  and  the  privileges  of  the  Mesta  were  defined  and 
legally  established.  Conspicuous  among  these  privileges  two 
may  be  cited :  One  is  that  the  permanent  residents  were  pro- 
hibited from  plowing  land  that  had  not  been  cultivated  hith- 
erto; the  other  is  that  they  were  prohibited  from  extending 
their  inclosures.  The  privileges  of  the  Mesta  suggest  the 
hunting  privileges  of  a  mediaeval  aristocracy.  They  discour- 
aged agriculture,  and  those  who  opposed  them  found  it  easy  to 
argue  that  they  "doomed  to  barrenness  some  of  the  finest  dis- 
tricts of  Spain." 

An  effective  obstacle  to  agricultural  progress  existed  also  in 
the  practice  of  entailing  estates  in  behalf  of  the  eldest  son 
and  of  bestowing  lands  in  mortmain  on  churches  and  monas- 
teries. 

Although  excuses  may  have  been  found  for  the  existence  of 
entailed  estates  while  the  aristocracy  was  powerful  and  ren- 
dering the  Crown  great  service  in  war,  it  is  difficult  to  justify 
that  extension  of  the  practice  which  we  observe  in  the  sixteenth 
century,  when  the  comparatively  poor  were  enobled,  and  thus 
confirmed  in  their  idleness,  and  made  ridiculous  in  their 
unsupported  pretensions.  This  practice  is  noteworthy  for  its 
evil  effects  on  the  agriculture  of  the  country.  In  bringing 
honest  work  into  contempt,  and  in  setting  up  numerous  models 
of  indolent  and  worthless  lives,  its  influence  was  so  great  that 
in  1552  the  cortes  of  Madrid  was  moved  to  repudiate  the  privi- 
leges which  the  King  was  accustomed  to  grant  to  persons  of 
httle  distinction  and  small  wealth,  to  entail  property  to  the 
prejudice  of  the  younger  children  and  to  the  injury  of  the 
nation. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  fifteenth  century  the  lands  of 
Spain,  whether  in  public  or  private  hands,  were  being  rapidly 
denuded  of  trees,  and  the  Government  had  already  at  that 
time  perceived  the  need  of  special  action  to  preserve  the 
forests ;  but  the  present  treeless  condition  of  a  large  part  of 
the  country  is  in  evidence  that  no  permanently  effective  pro- 
vision was  made.  Besides  a  number  of  general  ordinances 
relating  to  the  preservation  of  the  forests,  Ferdinand  and 
Isabella  caused  to  be  issued  also  special  ordinances  touching 
the  conservation  of  the  forests  of  Madrid  and  those  of  Medina 
del  Campo. 


128  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

It  may  be  seen  from  the  instructions  given  to  Diego  de 
Covarrubias,  when  lie  was  appointed  president  of  the  Council 
of  Castile,  that  Philip  the  Second  appreciated  the  seriousness 
of  the  situation :  '^  One  thing,"  he  said,  ^^  I  desire  to  see  given 
thorough  treatment,  and  that  is  the  matter  of  the  preservation 
of  the  forests,  and  their  increase  which  is  very  necessary  j  for 
I  believe  they  are  going  to  destruction.  I  fear  those  who 
come  after  us  may  have  many  complaints  that  we  have  allowed 
them  to  be  used  up,  and  God  grant  that  we  may  not  see  this 
in  our  day." 

Prominent  among  the  causes  of  the  disappearance  of  the 
forests  was  the  disposition,  which  has  also  prevailed  in  the 
United  States,  to  plunder  rather  than  to  husband  the  resources 
of  the  country.  In  order  to  prepare  the  soil  to  receive  the 
seed  and  to  provide  abundant  pasture,  it  was  the  practice  in 
some  pa  rts  of  Spain  to  burn  the  forests  and  the  thickets  which 
occupied  the  ground.  The  fires  kindled  for  this  purpose, 
which  sometimes  extended  over  several  leagues  and  often 
caused  serious  losses,  were  recognized  as  an  evil  to  be  abated. 
Ordinances  were,  therefore,  issued  to  prohibit  them,  but  the 
abuses  proved  to  be  difficult  to  correct.  In  this  barbarous 
manner  disappeared  the  forests  of  Estramadura,  Andalusia, 
Toledo,  and  other  parts  of  the  Kingdom,  leaving  no  possibility 
of  being  replaced,  inasmuch  as  the  new  growths,  the  fresh  and 
tender  shoots,  were  destroyed  by  the  cattle  which  occupied 
these  fields  as  pastures. 

That  some  part  of  the  damage  might  be  avoided,  Philip  the 
Second  ordered  that  the  justices  of  the  districts  in  which  the 
forests  had  been  burned  should  not  allow  cattle  to  graze  where 
the  ground  had  been  burnt  over,  except  as  permitted  by  the 
license  of  his  council.  The  ancient  right  to  take  wood  for  the 
use  of  the  court  had  also  much  to  do  with  the  destruction  of 
the  forests  j  not  that  the  strict  observance  of  the  right  itself 
would  have  caused  any  serious  damage,  but  that  under  the 
pretense  of  observing  it,  a  way  was  found  for  extensive  frauds, 
in  that  persons  about  the  court  not  entitled  to  the  advan^ 
tages  of  this  privilege  ravaged  the  forests  and  contributed  in 
a  large  measure  to  their  ruin. 

Concerning  the  industries  of  Spain  in  the  sixteenth  century, 
there  appear  two  widely  divergent  views.  According  to  one 
opinion,  the  beginning  of  the  century  witnessed  an  extraor- 
dinary development  in  the  silk  and  woolen  industries,  which 


ECONOMIC   CONDITIONS   OF   SPAIN — MOSES. 


129 


lost  their  importance  in  the  seventeenth  century  j  while  in  the 
other  view  there  never  existed  in  the  country  any  remarkable 
industrial  development.  The  historical  fact,  however,  lies 
nearer  the  first  view  than  the  second,  but  at  the  same  time 
there  is  no  doubt  that  tradition  has  somewhat  exaggerated 
the  degree  of  industrial  prosperity  which  had  been  attained  at 
the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century.  There  is  no  doubt, 
moreover,  that  the  course  of  the  century  was  marked  by  a  con- 
spicuous decline  in  Spanish  industry,  but  it  is  not  now  possi- 
ble to  date  the  several  steps  of  that  decline.  Among  the  first 
symptoms  were  the  complaints  made  in  1537  that  the  cloth  of 
Segovia  had  risen  in  price  in  the  four  preceding  years.  With 
these  complaints  of  high  prices  appeared  also  denunciations 
of  fraud  employed  in  the  processes  of  manufacturing.  On 
account  of  these  high  prices,  the  common  people  were  unable 
to  use  the  cloth  made  in  their  own  country  and  were  granted 
the  privilege  of  purchasing  foreign  goods.  This  was  the  begin- 
ning of  the  fall  of  the  textile  industries  in  Spain,  which  was 
hastened  by  the  operation  of  several  causes.  Prominent  among 
these  was  the  importation  of  gold  and  silver  from  America, 
which  caused  a  continued  rise  of  price,  and  developed  an  irre- 
sistible desire  to  buy  in  a  foreign  market.  Another  cause 
was  the  marked  decline  in  the  quality  of  Spanish  products, 
which  placed  them  in  unfavorable  contrast  with  the  wares  of 
other  countries,  and  destroyed  the  demand  for  them.  Among 
these  causes  may  be  mentioned,  also,  the  rigidity  of  the 
surviving  mediaeval  trade  organizations,  which,  by  their  nar- 
row views  and  their  illiberal  conduct  in  the  management  of 
their  monopolies,  prevented  industrial  and  commercial  growth, 
and  made  impossible,  even  in  Spanish  markets,  successful 
competition  with  the  more  liberal  industrial  systems  of  other 
nations.  A  survey  of  the  industries  of  Spain  throughout  the 
century,  however,  leads  to  the  conclusion  that  the  manufac- 
ture of  cloth  flourished  in  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  cen- 
tury, while  in  the  second  quarter  there  were  conspicuous  symp- 
toms of  its  approaching  decline.  *'By  the  middle  of  the  cen- 
tury the  evil  had  become  so  far  aggravated  that  Spain  not 
only  did  not  export  textile  fabrics,  but  was  even  under  the 
necessity  of  importing  them  in  order  to  meet  the  demands  of 
her  own  consumption.^'*    In  the  last  half  of  the  century  the 


S.  Mis.  104- 


*  ColmeirO;  ii,  188. 


130  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

fall  was  rapid,  and  all  subsequent  efforts  for  revival  were 
fruitless. 

Conspicuous  among  tlie  hindrances  to  the  economic  devel- 
opment of  Spain  in  the  sixteenth  century  was  the  lack  of  facil- 
ities for  transportation.  This  phase  of  civilization  received 
little  attention  from  the  Moors.  The  habits  of  their  ancestors, 
accustomed  to  free  life  on  the  desert  or  in  Northern  Africa, 
made  them  indifferent  to  the  establishment  of  roads  suited  to 
vehicles  with  wheels;  and  the  fact  that  the  Spaniards  remained 
in  a  very  large  measure  satisfied  with  the  beasts  of  burden  as 
a  means  of  transportation  may  be  in  part  accounted  for  by  the 
influence  of  their  Mohammedan  neighbors.  From  the  point  of 
view  of  economics,  it  is  a  mistake  for  a  people  to  consent  to 
make  settlements  at  points  to  which  they  can  not  take  their 
household  goods  and  industrial  elements  on  carts.  An  impor- 
tant difference  between  the  Spanish  and  the  English  settling 
in  America  is  that  in  the  one  case  the  settlers  have  insisted 
on  finding  or  making  roads  over  which  they  could  drag  with 
them  their  belongings  on  carts  or  wagons,  while  in  the  other 
case  they  have  been  content  to  carry  their  outfit  on  the  back 
of  mules,  and  have  not  insisted  that  their  settlements  should 
be  connected  with  the  rest  of  the  world  by  carriage  roads. 

The  lack  of  convenient  and  inexpensive  means  of  communi- 
cation between  buyers  and  sellers  suggested  the  fixing  of  cer- 
tain times  and  places  for  general  meetings.  These  meetings 
became  the  great  fairs  of  the  later  Middle  Ages,  survivals  of 
which  may  still  be  seen  at  Leipsic  and  at  other  points  in  East- 
ern Europe.  In  Spain  they  were  held  at  Segovia,  Yalladolid, 
AlcaU,  Salamanca,  Seville,  Yillalon,  Medina  de  Eioseco,  and 
Medina  del  Oampo.  On  account  of  the  great  wealth  gathered 
at  Rioseco,  the  place  acquired  the  title  of  India  clii  ca;  but  the 
most  important  of  all  the  fairs  was  that  of  Medina  del  Oampo, 
whose  origin,  like  the  origin  of  most  European  fairs,  is  not  a 
matter  of  definite  historical  knowledge. 

The  apologist  of  Spain's  economic  policy  with  respect  to  for- 
eign trade  in  the  sixteenth  century  is  disposed  to  find  in  the 
restrictive  and  artificial  system  of  the  Hanseatic  League  and 
the  Italian  republics  an  earlier  emi)loyment  of  the  methods 
whose  origin  is  ascribed  to  the  Spaniards,  claiming  that  the 
influence  of  these  powers  was  felt  throughout  Europe,  and 
that  the  mercantile  system  was  introduced  into  Spain  not 
earlier  than  into  France  and  England.    If  it  struck  deeper 


ECONOMIC   CONDITIONS   OF   SPAIN — MOSES.  131 

roots  in  Spain  than  elsewhere  it  was  because  Spain  controlled 
the  best  mines  of  the  world,  and  could  not  without  difficulty 
give  up  the  thought  of  monopolizing  the  precious  metals. 

In  examining  the  trade  with  foreign  nations  and  the  shifting 
attitude  of  the  Government  towards  it,  it  is  not  possible  to 
discover  any  principle  which  was  consistently  observed.  Many 
decrees  of  prohibition  issued  with  respect  to  exportation  were 
prompted  by  the  desire  not  to  have  diminished  the  store  of 
articles  necessary  for  the  support  of  the  people  j  and  if  in  cer- 
tain  cases  the  importation  of  wares  was  prohibited  it  was  to 
avoid  too  sharp  competition  with  Spain's  domestic  products. 
In  other  cases  the  principle  of  the  mercantile  system,  or  the 
desire  to  increase  the  amount  of  specie  in  the  Kingdom,  was 
unquestionably  the  determining  factor  in  the  policy.  The  state 
of  things  has  been  characterized  by  Colmeiro  in  the  remark 
that  "the  mercantile  doctrines  grew  up  slowly  and  without 
order,  indicating  the  triumph  of  other  ideas,  without  succeed- 
ing in  forming  a  new  system  j  so  that  the  commercial  policy  of 
the  sixteenth  century  appears  as  a  web  of  contradictions." 

Passing  over  the  details  of  the  effects  of  the  colonial  system 
and  the  transatlantic  trade,  attention  may  be  directed  to  the 
influence  of  the  Government  on  the  economic  affairs  of  Spain. 
It  may  be  noticed,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  extensive  domin- 
ions involving  the  Government  in  large  expenses  in  carrying 
on  wars  into  which  it  was  drawn  by  an  aggressive  ambition, 
made  a  demand  on  the  nation  which  the  public  revenue,  even 
when  supplemented  by  the  treasures  of  America,  could  not 
satisfy.  Through  the  great  undertakings  of  Charles  the  Fifth 
and  Philip  the  Second  the  expenditures  went  on  from  year  to 
year  carrying  over  an  increasing  burden  upon  the  income  of 
the  future,  so  that  at  the  death  of  Philip  the  Second  Spain 
had  a  debt  of  140,000,000  ducats.  * 

Philip's  extraordinary  need  of  money  to  meet  his  numerous 
obligations  led  him  to  extraordinary  means  to  obtain  it.  He 
appropriated  for  his  own  uses  the  silver  and  gold  which  came 
from  the  Indies  for  merchants  and  other  private  persons.    This 

*  ''La  nacion  siifria  los  may  ores  ahogos,  y  arrastraba  una  vida  trabajosa, 
miserable  y  pobre,  gastando  toda  su  savia  en  alimentar  aquellas  y  las 
anteriores  guerras,  que  continuamente  habia  sostenido  el  emperador,  y  no 
bastando  todos  los  esfoerzos  y  sacrificios  del  reino  a  subvenir  a  las  necesi- 
dades  de  fuera,  ni  a  sacar  al  monarca  y  sus  ejercitos  de  las  escaseces  y 
apuros  que  tan  frecuentamente  paralizaban  sus  operaciones.''  Lafuente, 
"Historia  General  de  Espaua,"  iii,  p  13. 


132  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

helped  to  destroy  the  fundamental  condition  of  material  pros- 
perity, namely,  the  citizen's  sense  of  security  in  the  possession 
of  his  property.  He  sold  offices  and  titles  of  nobility,  and  the 
lands  which  belonged  to  the  crown.  He  imposed  forced  loans 
on  prelates  and  the  owners  of  large  estates,  which  were  taken 
with  violence  and  without  consideration.  He  suspended  pay- 
ments to  creditors  j  and  in  return  for  payments  in  money  he 
rendered  legitimate  the  sons  of  the  clergy.  Against  these 
abuses  the  cortes  from  time  to  time  protested;  and  they,  more- 
over, petitioned  that  luxury  in  dress  might  be  abated,  and  that 
the  king  himself  might  set  the  example.  In  reply  to  the  peti- 
tions for  restrictions  on  expenditure  in  matters  of  dress,  Philip 
the  Second  issued  the  remarkable  edict  of  October  25, 1563, 
which  Lafuente  quotes  at  some  length,  and  which  Prescott 
describes  as  "  going  at  great  length  into  such  minute  specifica- 
tions ot  wearing  apparel,  both  male  and  female,  that  it  would 
seem  to  have  been  devised  by  a  committee  of  tailors  and  mil- 
liners, rather  than  of  grave  legislators." 

The  scale  on  which  the  royal  household  was  ordered  also 
made  a  draft  on  the  resources  of  the  kingdom.  To  reduce 
these  expenditures  was  the  object  of  frequently  repeated  peti- 
tions by  the  cortes  to  the  king.  The  members  of  the  cortes 
wished  for  the  court  and  the  nation  a  simpler  form  of  life,  and 
in  this  they  were  supported  by  the  bulk  of  those  who  had 
intelligent  opinions  on  public  affairs.  They  called  the  atten- 
tion of  the  king  to  "the  pernicious  effects  which  this  manner 
of  living  necessarily  had  on  the  great  nobles  and  others  of  his 
subjects,  prone  to  follow  the  example  of  their  master." 

Philip's  financial  outlook  and  the  condition  of  the  country 
m  the  nineteenth  year  of  his  reign  are  characterized  in  a  note 
written  by  him  to  his  treasurer:  "Having  already  reached," 
he  said,  "my  forty-eighth  year,  and  the  hereditary  prince,  my 
son,  being  only  three  years  old,  I  can  not  but  see  with  the 
keenest  anxiety  the  disorderly  condition  of  the  treasury. 
What  a  prospect  for  my  old  age,  if  I  am  permitted  to  have  a 
longer  career,  when  I  am  now  living  from  day  to  day  without 
knowing  how  I  shall  live  on  the  next,  and  how  I  shall  procure 
that  of  which  I  am  so  much  in  need."* 

And  yet,  with  a  deficit  increasing  from  year  to  year,  he 
entered  upon  the  building  of  the  Escorial.   The  cost  of  construc- 

*Gayarre,  Philip  the  Second,  p.  268. 


ECONOMIC   CONDITIONS   OF   SPAIN — MOSES.  133 

tion  and  interior  decoration  amounted  to  about  6,000,000 
ducats,  a  sum  equal  to  $30,000,000  at  present,  or  more  than 
the  total  annual  revenue  of  the  kingdom  of  Castile  at  that 
time.  Although  it  may  have  laid  a  burden  on  the  nation,  yet, 
according  to  Fray  Alonzo  de  San  Geronimo,  it  at  the  same 
time  placed  the  Almighty  under  obligations  of  gratitude  to 
the  king.  It  illustrates  how  far  Philip^s  administration  was 
removed  from  an  economic  basis.  This,  his  chief  work,  stands 
as  a  monument  of  economic  folly,  and  in  the  design  of  the  king 
it  was  intended  to  stay  the  current  of  social  progress.  Ac- 
cording to  his  own  declaration,  he  intended  to  make  a  bulwark 
unconquerable  by  the  new  doctrines,  and  in  which  the  throne 
and  religion  should  be  sheltered  so  securely  that  they  might 
not  be  reached  by  the  ideas  then  agitating  and  moving  the 
world.  It  was  important  for  the  economic  condition  of  Spain 
that  the  building  of  the  Escorial  set  a  fashion  for  the  mag- 
nates of  the  realm.  They  felt  called  upon  to  manifest  their 
pious  zeal,  in  founding  churches  and  monasteries  and  in  pur- 
chasing relics,  so  that  at  the  close  of  the  sixteenth  century 
there  were  in  Spain  about  9,000  cloisters  for  monks  and  988 
for  nuns,  containing  about  46,000  monks  and  13,500  nuns.  And 
whatever  influence  these  institutions  exerted  on  the  spiritual 
welfare  of  the  nation,  it  is  clear  that  they  were  not  powerful 
factors  in  economic  progress.  We  may  count,  also,  as  a  hin- 
drance to  economic  progress  the  great  number  of  holidays,  set 
apart  primarily  for  exercises  of  devotion,  but  which  came  to 
be  days  of  pleasure,  developing  in  the  people  a  spirit  opposed 
to  that  persistent  effort  necessary  to  growth  in  material  well- 
being. 


XIIL-THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT. 


By  PROFESSOR  LUCY  M.  SALMON, 

or  YASSAR  COLLEGE. 


135 


THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT. 


By  Lucy  M.  Salmon. 


It  is  fifteen  years  since  Mr.  Gladstone  in  his  "Kin  Beyond 
Sea''  expressed  the  opinion  that  "As  the  British  constitution 
is  the  most  subtle  organism  which  has  proceded  from  progres- 
sive history,  so  the  American  constitution  is  the  most  wonder- 
ful work  ever  struck  off  at  a  given  time  by  the  brain  and  pur- 
pose of  man."  * 

The  verdict  was  accepted  by  the  American  people,  partly 
because  they  had  always  been  taught  the  inspirational  theory 
of  their  political  origin,  partly  because  they  were  proud  of 
believing  themselves  self-made,  partly  because  the  well-rounded 
period  of  the  great  premier  carried  conviction  with  it. 

But  questionings  had  already  come  in  the  minds  of  Amer- 
ican scholars,  and  at  Harvard,  at  Johns  Hopkins,  at  the  CTni- 
versity  of  Nebraska,  the  English,  and  subsequently  the  Ger- 
manic, origin  of  our  institutions  had  been  shown.  The  two 
new  schools  were  not  rivals,  for  the  English  themselves,  under 
the  leadership  of  Mr.  Edward  Freemau,  were  studying  the 
Germanic  origin  of  their  own  local  institutions.  These  theories 
seemed  reasonable,  Ihe  proof  conclusive,  and  we  had  come  to 
accept  without  question  this  explanation  of  the  source  of  our 
political  ideas. 

But  a  new  school  has  lately  risen,  led  by  Mr.  Douglas  Camp- 
bell, urging  the  claims  of  the  debt  America  owes  Holland. 
We  are  persuaded  that  all  of  our  political  virtues  are  inherited 
from  the  Dutch,  while  our  political  vices  come  from  England. 
The  claims  of  the  new  school  are  yet  to  be  proven,  but  its  rise 
is  of  interest  as  showing  that  our  political  origin  may  yet  be 
shown  to  be  cosmopolitan  in  character,  as  were  the  settlements 
of  the  thirteen  original  colonies. 

These  different,  perhaps  not  altogether  conflicting  views, 

*  North  American  Review,  127,  185. 

137 


138  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

have  concerned  chiefly  the  source  of  our  local  institutions. 
But  the  fundamental  principle  in  our  National  Government  is 
federation;  and  the  query  naturally  arises  as  to  how  this  idea 
could  have  been  developed.  That  some  form  of  union  was 
inevitable  is  seen  at  once  from  the  position  and  character  of 
the  American  colonies.  But  necessary  as  the  union  was,  it  is 
impossible  that  one  so  perfect  as  was  the  confessedly  imper- 
fect one  of  the  Kew  England  Confederation  should  have  been 
evolved  from  the  inner  consciousness  of  its  framers. 

Four  confederations  had  existed  before  the  first  formed  on 
American  soil.  Those  of  Greece  were  as  remote  from  the 
thoughts  and  experiences  of  the  ]S"ew  England  colonists  as 
they  were  distant  in  time.  The  holy  Koman  Empire  had  little 
to  commend  itself  to  their  respect  even  had  they  been  familiar 
with  its  workings.  "If  a  foreign  example  must  be  found  for 
so  natural  an  arrangement/'  says  a  recent  writer,*  "why  not 
refer  to  the  Confederacy  of  Switzerland,  known  by  residence 
under  its  protection  by  English  Puritans  for  generations?" 
But  Switzerland  had  little  standing  among  European  nations. 
It  had  never  harbored  for  any  length  of  time  any  united  com- 
pany of  English  citizens,  and  in  some  of  its  fundamental 
principles  it  was  totally  unlike  the  union  formed  in  America. 
The  fourth  confederation  that  Europe  had  known  was  that  of 
the  Dutch  Bepublic.  This  had  grown  out  of  the  Union  of 
Utrecht,  formed  forty  years  before  New  England  was  colo- 
nized, and  under  which  a  considerable  body  of  the  New 
England  colonists  had  lived  during  their  eleven  years'  sojourn 
in  Holland. 

That  the  Union  of  Utrecht  had  a  direct  and  immediate  bear- 
ing on  the  forming  of  the  New  England  Confederation  can  not 
be  stated,  for  the  records  of  the  Pilgrims  of  their  residence  in 
HoUand  are  utterly  barren  of  political  impressions.  It  is  impos- 
sible to  believe  that  they  walked  as  men  not  seeing,  yet  what 
was  seen  has  not  been  recorded.  What  was  the  germ  out  of 
which  the  New  England  Confederacy  was  developed  will  prob- 
ably never  be  positively  known — the  case  can  be  decided  only 
by  circumstantial  evidence,  but  all  of  this  evidence  points  to 
the  Union  of  Utrecht  as  a  forerunner  and  prototype  of  the 
New  England  Confederacy  formed  in  1643. 

The  Union  of  Utrecht  signed  in  January,  1579,  was  intended 

*  George  Leon  Walker,  Life  of  Thomas  Hooker,  p.  116,  note. 


THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT — SALMON.       139 

as  a  protest  against  the  ineffectual  manner  in  which  Spain  had 
kept  the  Pacification  of  Ghent  drawn  up  more  than  two  years 
previous.  It  did  not  in  any  way  contemplate  the  establish- 
ment of  an  independent  commonwealth — the  preamble  expressly 
states  that  the  bond  between  them  is  formed  without  thought 
of  ^^  in  any  case  separating  themselves  from  the  Holy  Roman 
Empire."  The  Dutch  Republic  was  certainly  a  result,  but  just 
as  certainly  it  was  not  a  premeditated  result  of  the  Union.  It 
was  two  and  a  half  years  before  the  allegiance  to  Spain  was 
formally  renounced,  and  although  the  relations  between  the 
two  countries  had  been  greatly  strained  in  1579,  it  was  not 
reaUzed  that  a  rupture  was  inevitable.  The  Union  was  intended 
solely  to  protect  themselves  against  the  attempts  of  Spain  to 
dismember  the  Provinces,  and  to  this  fact  must  be  attributed 
its  incomplete  nature  as  a  permanent  constitution. 

The  Union  consists  of  twenty-six  articles,  it  is  fall  of  repe- 
titions, and  shows  little  or  no  skill  in  the  arrangement  of  the 
material.  It  is  provisional  in  character*  and  contemplates  the 
securing  of  but  two  main  objects — mutual  defense  against  a 
foreign  oppressor  and  religious  toleration.  It  presents  no  well- 
ordered,  carefully  devised  scheme  of  government,  and  aside 
from  these  provisions  securing  protection  and  toleration,  it  is 
almost  wholly  negative  in  character. 

It  provides  for  no  general  executive  department,  the  nomi- 
nal governor-generalship  established  in  1577  under  the  Arch- 
duke Matthias  being  accepted  in  its  stead  t.  Its  legislative 
department  is  an  assembly  of  independent  envoys,  represent- 
ing sovereign  States,  who  vote  by  provinces  and  not  as  indi- 
viduals. It  lacks  a  supreme  judicial  authority,  providing  for 
the  settlement  of  the  different  classes  of  disagreements  in  sev- 
eral different  ways.  It  makes  no  provision  for  a  mutual  con- 
cession of  rights  and  privileges  by  the  Provinces  on  the  one 
hand  and  by  the  general  government  established  on  the  other 
hand,  except  in  the  two  matters  of  defense  and  religion.  It 
violates  in  every  particular  all  those  x^rinciples  which  Ameri- 
cans to-day  consider  fundamental  in  a  federal  government — 
the  formation  of  a  supreme  legislative,  executive,  and  judicial 
authority,  the  equitable  adjustment  of  the  mutual  relation  of 
the  national  and  state  authorities,  and  a  power  inherent  in  the 
national  government  of  operating  directly  on  every  individual 
citizen. 

*  Articles  5,  9.  t  Article  2. 


140  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

It  has  been  said  that  the  Union  in  its  fundamental  charac- 
ter with  the  exception  of  two  main  features,  is  negative  rather 
than  positive  in  character,  that  it  emphasizes  at  every  point 
its  confederate  rather  than  its  national  principles,  and  that 
its  forces  are  centrifugal  rather  than  centripetal. 

This  is  seen  in  the  fact  that  the  first  article  of  the  Union 
guarantees  to  every  province,  city,  and  corporation  of  the 
league  its  own  peculiar  privileges,  liberties,  exemptions,  rights, 
statutes,  customs,  usages  and  all  other  laws.  The  Provinces 
must  moreover  assist  each  other  with  life  and  goods  not  only  to 
maintain  these  but  also  to  strengthen  them  and  to  protect  them 
against  every  outside  force  seeking  to  diminish  them.  Again, 
a  unanimous  vote  of  all  the  Provinces  was  necessary  in  con- 
cluding peace,  declaring  war,  and  instituting  taxes,  in  receiv- 
ing new  members  into  the  confederation,  and  making  addi- 
tions or  amendments  to  the  Articles  of  Union.*  The  revenues 
raised  were  not  to  be  employed  for  any  purpose  except  that  of 
defense  and  were  to  be  only  as  great  as  the  necessities  of  the 
Provinces  demanded.!  The  captains  and  soldiers  of  all  garri- 
sons were  to  take  the  oath  peculiar  to  the  city  and  the  prov- 
ince in  which  they  were  stationed  and  were  not  to  be  ex- 
empted from  any  duty  or  impost  laid  upon  the  citizens  of  the 

town.f 

On  its  positive  side,  the  Provinces  bound  themselves  to  con- 
federate together  forever  and  to  remain  united  as  if  one  prov- 
ince. 1^0  change  in  any  one  of  the  Provinces  by  virtue  of 
donation,  cession,  sale,  treaty  of  peace,  marriage,  or  any  other 
cause,  was  to  affect  a  separation  of  the  Province  from  the 
Union.  The  articles  provided  that  the  Provinces  should 
defend  each  other  with  life,  goods,  and  blood  against  all  force 
brought  against  them  by  any  one  in  the  king's  name,  or  plead- 
ing the  Pacification  of  Ghent,  or  because  the  Provinces  had 
renounced  Don  John,  or  received  the  Archduke  Matthias  as 
governor-general,  or  because  of  any  other  act  done  since  the 
accession  of  Philip  II  (1558),  or  because  they  had  formed  the 
present  Unicni,  or  through  any  attempt  to  restore  the  Eoman 
Catholic  religion.§  The  Provinces  were  also  to  assist  each 
other  against  all  foreign  princes,  powers,  provinces,  and  cities 
who  should  unitedly  or  separately  attack  them,  provided  such 
defense  were  controlled  by  the  '^  generality"  of  the  Union  after 

*Article8  9,  11,  22.  t  Article  6.  x  Article  7.  ^Article  2. 


THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT SALMON. 


141 


fall  knowledge  of  the  circumstances.*  All  frontier  cities  were 
to  be  strengthened,  one-half  of  the  expense  being  met  by  the 
province  in  which  the  cities  were  situated,  and  one-half  by  the 
confederation.  The  expense  of  building  new  fortifications  was 
to  be  borne  by  the  United  Provinces. t  In  order  to  ascertain 
the  military  resources  of  the  country,  all  inhabitants  between 
the  ages  of  eighteen  and  sixty  were  to  be  enrolled  at  a  month's 
notice  after  the  formation  of  the  IJnion.f  It  was,  furthermore, 
ordained,  in  providing  for  the  common  defense,  that  all  cities 
should  be  bound  to  accept  all  such  garrisons  as  the  United 
Provinces  should  station  in  them,  acting  with  the  advice  of  the 
governor  of  the  province,  the  expense  of  the  garrison  being 
borne  by  the  United  Provinces,  and  the  citizens  receiving  com- 
pensation for  all  troops  quartered  on  them,  and  being  guaran- 
teed against  lawlessness  on  the  part  of  the  troops.§  To  meet 
the  expenses  incurred  in  providing  for  this  defense,  it  was 
decided  that  the  Provinces  should  every  three  months,  or  at  any 
reasonable  period,  farm  out  the  taxes,  raising  the  revenues 
necessary  by  duties  and  imposts  on  wine,  beer,  corn,  grain, 
salt,  gold,  silver,  silk,  woolen,  cattle,  sowed  lands,  horses,  oxen 
when  sold,  all  goods  coming  to  the  scales,  and  other  articles  to 
be  subsequently  determined.  If  these  revenues  did  not  suffice, 
recourse  was  to  be  had  to  the  royal  demesne.  ||  In  order  to 
strengthen  still  further  the  finances  of  the  Provinces,  provision 
was  made  for  a  uniform  currency,  which  was  not  to  be  changed 
without  common  consent.^  Provision  was  also  made  for  secur- 
ing to  the  clergy  their  revenues.** 

A  second  class  of  provisions  positive  in  character  concerned 
religious  freedom.  This  was  granted  specially  to  Holland  and 
Zealand,  while  permission  was  given  the  other  Provinces  to 
regulate  the  matter  in  accordance  with  the  religious  peace 
already  framed  by  the  States-General  and  the  Archduke 
Matthias.  Thus  to  all  unmolested  exercise  of  their  religion 
was  granted.  No  man  was  to  be  questioned  concerning  his 
religion,  nor  was  any  province  or  city  to  interfere  with  another 
in  worship  or  religion. tt  It  was  not  intended  by  these  pro- 
visions, a  subsequent  article  explained  J| ,  to  exclude  any 
Catholic  city  or  province  from  the  Union,  if  it  bound  itself  by 


*Article  3. 
t Article  4. 
^Article  8. 


•^Article  7. 
II  Article  5. 
^Article  12. 


**  Articles  14, 15. 
ttArticle  13. 
UVerklariiige  van  bet  13.  Articul. 


142  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Other  articles  and  its  citizens  conducted  themselves  as  good 
patriots. 

These  two  classes  of  provisions  providing  for  the  common 
defense  and  the  necessary  expenses  entailed,  and  also  for 
religious  toleration,  are  the  only  ones  conferring  positive  powers 
on  the  States-General.  The  two  remaining  classes  of  pro- 
visions, however,  must  be  considered,  the  first  concerning  the 
modes  of  legislation  and  the  second  judicial  procedure. 

Deputies  from  all  the  Provinces  were  to  meet  at  Utrecht,  in 
order  to  attend  to  the  public  business,  the  purpose  of  the  meet- 
ing being  set  forth  in  the  call.  This  object  was  not  to  be  kept 
secret,  business  was  to  be  transacted  by  common  consent.and 
by  as  large  a  number  of  votes  as  could  be  brought  together. 
Those  deputies  not  coming  were  to  be  bound  by  the  acts  of  those 
present,  unless  the  subjects  under  discussion  admitted  of  delay 
or  were  of  great  importance.  In  either  of  these  cases  the 
deputies  not  present  could  be  summoned  a  second  time,  but  if 
they  failed  to  appear  after  a  second  summons  the  business  was 
to  be  decided  by  those  present,  and  the  decisions  were  to  stand. 
The  deputies  could,  however,  send  written  proxies.  Moreover, 
any  person  was  at  liberty  to  make  those  in  authority  acquainted 
with  any  matter  which  he  considered  it  advisable  for  the  other 
Provinces  to  know*.  In  all  cases,  except  those  mentioned,  a 
majority  vote  was  to  decide,  the  votes  being  taken  by  Prov- 
inces rather  than  by  individuals  t. 

In  regard  to  judicial  affairs,  it  was  provided  that  all  ques- 
tions concerning  the  laws,  privileges,  rights,  and  customs  of 
the  Provinces  should  be  settled,  first,  by  ordinary  tribunals ; 
second,  by  arbitration,  and,  third,  by  amicable  agreement;  and 
this  without  the  assistance  of  foreign  countries  or  cities,  except 
as  these  should  be  inclined  to  intercede  in  favor  of  arbitration.}: 
Differences  of  opinion  concerning  the  declaration  of  war,  the 
coQclusion  of  peace  or  the  levying  of  taxes  were  to  be  referred 
to  the  stadholders  of  the  Provinces,  and  these  failing  to  agree 
they  were  to  be  assisted  by  arbitrators  appointed  by  them, 
and  by  these  decisions  all  parties  were  to  be  bound. §  Differ- 
ences between  the  Provinces,  if  they  concerned  a  particular 
Province,  were  to  be  settled  by  the  other  Provinces  or  by  arbi- 
trators appointed  by  them.  If  the  matter  in  dispute  concerned 
all  the  Provinces,  it  was  to  be  settled  by  stadholders  of  the 

*  Articles  19,  20.  t  Article  3.  t  Article  1.  $  Article  9. 


THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT — SALMON.       143 

Provinces,  or  by  them  and  assistants  appointed  by  them,  and 
no  appeal  could  be  taken  from  this  decision.*  All  questions 
concerning  the  articles  of  Union  were  to  be  decided  by  the 
confederates.  If  they  could  not  agree,  the  matter  was  to  be 
referred  to  the  stadholders.t 

Other  articles  provided  for  the  signing  and  carrying  into 
effect  of  the  articles.^ 

Certain  principles  of  government  are  clearly  seen  in  these 
provisions.  The  first  is  that  the  Union  was  a  confederation 
pure  and  simple,  a  fact  indicated  alike  by  the  name  States- 
General  given  to  the  legislative  body  and  by  the  fact  that  the 
deputies  represented  sovereign  states,  not  the  entire  people; 
that  the  General  Government  had  no  power  over  individuals; 
and  that  the  ultimate  sovereignty  was  inherent  in  the  numer- 
ous board  of  magistracy,  which  were  close  corporations,  by 
which  each  city  was  governed.  The  Union  was  to  form  one 
state  against  foes,  but  to  be  many  internally.  It  was  indeed 
to  be*  a  divided  union.  The  second  general  principle  is  that 
the  Union  possessed  the  sovereign  rights  of  declaring  war  and 
concluding  peace,  levying  taxes,  and  coining  money.  The 
third  is  the  fact  the  instrument  of  union  was  a  compact,  not  a 
constitution  under  which  an  organic  union  could  grow  up. 
That  the  Union  prospered  was  largely  due  to  the  fact  that 
very  soon  after  its  formation  the  States- General  usurped  the 
authority,  and,  after  the  failure  of  the  administration  of  the 
Earl  of  Leicester,  governed  the  country  in  conjunction  with 
the^Council  of  State. 

It  was  this  Union,  incomplete  and  temporary,  yet  active  and 
vigorous,  under  which  the  Pilgrims  lived  for  eleven  years. 

What  was  the  influence  that  it  had  on  the  formation  of  the 
first  American  Union  ?  Of  direct  evidence  there  is  none.  The 
records  of  the  religious  and  ecclesiastical  experiences  of  the 
colonies  are  given  with  an  almost  painful  attention  to  minute 
detail,  but  scarcely  an  indirect  allusion  has  come  down  of  the 
political  impressions  gained  in  the  Netherlands.  That  intel- 
ligent men  who  planned  and  executed  the  emigration  to  Hol- 
land and  subsequently  to  America  were  unobserving  of  their 
political  surroundings  can  not  be  believed,  but  direct  proof  is 
wholly  lacking.  Some  inferences,  however,  can  be  drawn  with 
a  reasonable  degree  of  probability  both  from  external  condi- 
tions and  from  the  nature  of  the  two  Unions. 

*  Article  16.        t  Article  21.      t  Articles  23-26. 


144  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

There  are  two  main  lines  of  circumstantial  proof  tliat  not  a 
union  of  the  colonies,  but  the  particular  form  such  a  union 
was  to  take  was  suggested  to  the  colonists  by  the  experience 
of  Holland. 

The  first  is  the  fact  that  of  the  four  colonies  that  formed  the 
Kew  England  Confederation  Plymouth  was  one,  and  the  Ply- 
mouth colonists,  after  a  residence  in  Holland  of  eleven  years, 
had  come  to  America  only  seventeen  years  before  the  union 
was  suggested  and  but  twenty -three  years  before  it  became  a 
reality.  The  early  impressions  of  this  long  residence  could 
scarcely  have  been  effaced.  It  is  not  altogether  probable  that 
the  first  suggestion  of  a  union  came  from  Plymouth — the 
needs  of  the  other  colonies  were  greater — ^but  it  is  more  than 
probable  that  the  experiences  of  the  Pilgrims  was  of  assist- 
ance in  determining  the  special  character  of  the  league. 

Again,  it  is  a  matter  of  uncertainty  who  first  suggested  the 
union.  If  the  initiative  came  from  Plymouth  the  influence  of 
Holland  is  sufficiently  clear.  If  it  came  from  Connecticut  the 
Dutch  influence  is  equally  clear.  The  first  settlement  of 
Connecticut  was  made  by  Lieut.  Holmes  and  a  company  from 
Plymouth,  and  the  station  established  was  soon  left  in  charge 
of  Jonathan  Brewster,  a  son  of  Elder  Brewster,  who  did  not 
leave  Holland  until  the  autumn  of  1621 .  This  early  settlement 
by  Plymouth  was  subsequently  yielded  to  a  colony  from  Massa- 
chusetts, and  one  of  the  pioneers  of  the  Massachusetts  settle- 
ment was  Thomas  Hooker,  who  had  lived  in  Holland  from  1630 
to  1633  and  removed  to  Connecticut  less  than  three  years  later. 
If  the  initiative  came  from  New  Haven  we  know  that  one  of 
its  leaders,  John  Davenport,  lived  in  Holland  from  1633  to 
1636,  and  that  one  of  the  signers  of  the  confederation  on  the 
part  of  Kew  Haven,  Theophilus  Eaton,  had  in  London  been 
a  parishioner  of  John  Davenport's  and  had  come  to  America 
at  Davenport's  instance  and  in  his  company.*  Eaton  had, 
moreover,  previously  gone  on  a  diplomatic  mission  to  Denmark, 
where  he  must  have  come  into  more  or  less  personal  contact 
with  Dutch  ideas.  If  the  honor  belongs  to  Massachusetts,  then 
we  find  that  Thomas  Dudley,  one  of  the  commissioners  from 
Massachusetts  who  signed  the  articles  of  confederation,  had 
been  a  resident  of  Holland. 

It  is  thus  seen  that  of  the  twelve  names  affixed  to  the  ]S"ew 
England  Confederation  three  were  men  who  had  formerly 

*  Palfrey,  New  England,  Vol.  i,  p.  528. 


THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT — SALMON.       145 

resided  in  Hollaud,  as  had  also  two  others  the  most  influential 
in  bringing  it  about,  while  a  sixth  was  an  intimate  Mend  and 
companion  of  one  of  these. 

That  a  union  of  the  colonies  should  have  suggested  itself  to 
one  and  all  of  them  is  not  strange,  surrounded  as  they  were 
by  enemies  on  all  sides  and  far  removed  from  the  protection 
of  the  mother  country,  or  that  its  practicability  should  have 
seemed  assured,  familiar  as  were  so  many  of  their  leaders, 
through  personal  experience,  with  the  confederation  of  Hol- 
land. 

As  far  as  the  details  of  the  development  of  the  plan  are 
known  they  include  seven  steps,  beginning  in  1637  with  a  con- 
ference between  Massachusetts,  Plymouth,  and  Connecticut  in 
regard  to  the  Pequot  war  *  and  terminating  six  years  later 
with  the  signing  of  the  Few  England  Confederation  in  1643. 
The  most  important  of  all  these  steps  was  a  month's  discussion 
of  the  subject  in  Boston  in  1639  on  the  part  of  Thomas  Hooker 
and  Governor  Haynes.t 

The  indebtedness  of  the  New  England  Confederation  to  the 
Union  of  Utrecht  is  seen  most  clearly  through  the  internal 
evidence.  The  preamble  states  the  conditions  under  which 
the  confederation  was  formed — all  those  uniting  in  it  had 
come  to  America  to  advance  the  kingdom  of  Christ  and  to 
enjoy  religious  liberty;  they  were  living  in  scattered  settle- 
ments, surrounded  by  jealous  and  hostile  neighbors,  threatened 
by  the  Indians,  and  cut  off  by  reason  of  the  civil  war  in  Eng- 
land from  seeking  the  advice  and  protection  of  the  mother 
country.  Thus  they  were  led  to  form  a  firm  and  perpetual 
league  for  defense  and  offense,  for  mutual  advice  and  succor, 
safety,  and  welfare,  and  also  for  propagating  the  truth  and 
liberty  of  the  gospel.  Thus  the  objects  of  the  two  unions — 
defense  and  religious  unity — are  identical.  The  religious 
unity,  however,  secured  by  the  New  England  Confederation  was 
on  a  much  narrower  basis  than  that  of  the  Union  of  Utrecht  in 
that  it  attempted  to  secure  the  absolute  identity  of  religious 
interests,  while  the  Union  of  Utrecht  deemed  it  sufficient  to 
prevent  active  interference  in  religious  affairs.  Again,  the 
New  England  Confederation  was  not  formed  with  the  thought 
of  securing  independence  from  England.    Twenty  years  after- 

*  Winthrop,  Hist,  of  New  England,  i,  260;  Bradford,  Hist,  of  Plymouth 
Plantation,  p.  351-355;  Massachusetts  Records,  i,  192. 

t  Winthrop,  Hist,  of  New  England,  i,  360;  Hubbard,  p.  466. 
S.  Mis.  104 10 


146  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

wards  the  general  court  of  Plymouth  protested  to  the  Bug- 
lish  commissioners,  ^'the  league  between  the  four  colonies 
was  not  with  any  intent  (that  we  ever  heard  of)  to  cast  off  our 
dependence  upon  England,  a  thing  which  we  abhor,  entreat- 
ing your  honors  to  believe  us,  for  we  speak  as  in  the  presence 
of  God."* 

In  one  respect  the  IJnion  of  Utrecht  was  more  liberal  than 
the  Kew  England  Confederation,  in  that  it  provided  for  acces- 
sion to  its  numbers,  while  the  American  union  distinctly  pro- 
vided that  no  other  jurisdiction  should  be  taken  into  the  con- 
federation. 

The  Kew  England  Confederation  is,  like  the  Union  of 
Utrecht,  crude  in  form  and  suggesting  little  the  careful  delib- 
eration of  six  years.  It  is  essentially  aristocratic  in  char- 
acter, carefully  excluding  those  provinces  that  "ran  a  different 
course,"  especially  that  of  Maine,  "for  they  had  lately  made 
Acomenticus  (a  poor  village)  a  corporation,  and  had  made  a 
tailor  their  mayor,  and  had  entertained  one  Hull,  an  excom- 
municated person  and  very  contentious,  for  their  minister."  t 

The  New  England  Confederation  is  scarcely  less  negative  in 
character  than  the  Union  of  Utrecht.  It  provides  like  its  fore- 
runner for  but  one  department,  a  legislative,  with  advisory 
powers.  The  local  independence  of  each  colony  is  forever  guar- 
anteed.! It  gives  to  the  commissioners  no  authority  over  the 
individual  members  of  the  confederation,  and  it  provides  for 
the  equality  of  the  distinct  jurisdictions.  In  every  way  the 
power  of  each  province  and  of  commissioners  is  hedged  about 
that  no  one  may  have  an  advantage  over  any  other. 

On  its  positive  side  it  provides  for  the  payment  of  all  charges 
of  war  as  regards  men  and  supplies,  according  to  the  popula- 
tion of  each  jurisdiction,  between  sixteen  and  sixty  years  of 
age,  and  the  distribution  of  booty  on  the  same  basis.  For  the 
determining  of  all  these  questions  of  war  and  peace  the  com- 
missioners were  to  have  fall  power,  and  a  majority  of  six  were 
to  have  power  of  decision.  The  commissioners  were  also,  as 
they  might  have  commission  or  opportunity,  to  endeavor  to 
frame  civil  laws  and  agreements  for  preserving  peace  among 
themselves,  preventing  differences,  securing  the  free  and 
speedy  passage  of  justice  in  every  jurisdiction,  mutual  citizen- 

*  Hutcliu\8on,  History  of  Massachusetts,  i,  235. 
t  Winthrop,  History  of  New  England,  ii,  121. 
iArticlesS,  6. 


THE  UNION  OF  UTRECHT — SALMON.      147 

ship,  and  a  satisfactory  Indian  policy.  Moreover,  fugitives 
from  service  and  from  justice  were  to  be  delivered  up. 

It  was  undoubtedly  the  influence  of  Holland  that  led  to  the 
refusal  of  the  commissioners  from  Plymouth  to  approve  the 
articles  until  they  had  been  confirmed  by  the  majority  of  the 
people  of  the  colony.  In  both  Plymouth  and  Connecticut, 
where  there  was  Dutch  influence,  there  was  the  greatest  insist- 
ence on  the  responsibility  of  the  deputies  of  the  colonies.  In 
1638,  when  the  articles  were  under  consideration  in  Connecticut, 
that  colony  had  insisted  that  if  the  commissioners  were  not 
unanimous  in  their  opinions,  the  matter  under  discussion  should 
be  referred  to  the  several  colonies — a  proceeding  which,  as 
Winthrop  remarks,  ^^  beside  that  it  would  have  been  infinitely 
tedious  and  extreme  chargeable,  it  would  never  have  attained 
the  end.'^  * 

It  is  thus  seen  that  the  New  England  Confederation,  like  its 
prototype,  was  a  confederation,  not  an  organic  union  of  colo- 
nies. Its  commissioners  also  represented  independent  com- 
munities and  the  confederation  had  no  power  over  individuals. 
It  had  the  sovereign  rights  of  declaring  war,  concluding  peace, 
and  levying  taxes,  while  that  of  coinage  still  remained  natu- 
rally with  the  mother  country.  Every  colony  had  an  equal 
voice  with  every  other  in  the  management  of  affairs,  while  the 
burdens  of  war  were  proportional  to  the  population.  In  a 
similar  manner  to  the  Union  of  Utrecht,  if  the  commissioners 
were  unable  to  agree,  the  matter  under  discussion  was  to  be 
referred  back  to  the  general  courts  of  the  four  colonies.  If 
these  four  general  courts  agreed  upon  the  business,  it  was  then 
to  be  prosecuted. 

Thus,  at  every  point  the  unions  in  both  countries  could 
decree  while  it  rested  with  the  individual  members  of  the 
union  to  carry  out  the  decrees. 

It  was  inevitable  in  both  countries  that  friction  should  result 
from  this  attempt  to  square  the  circle  of  nationality,  and  we 
find  in  the  Netherlands  JohnDe  Witt  protesting  that  Holland 
gave  far  more  to  the  Union  than  she  received  from  it,  while  in 
New  England  the  advantage  derived  from  the  confederation 
was  disproportionate  to  what  was  contributed  to  it,  a  fact  that 
led  Massachusetts  in  the  New  England  Confederation  to  play 
the  part  of  Holland  in  the  Union  of  Utrecht. 

*  Winthrop,  History  of  New  England,  i ;  342. 


148 


AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 


It  was  inevitable  that  in  details  the  unions  should  differ, 
but  we  think  it  must  be  seen  that  the  underlying  principles  of 
the  two  are  identical.  If  so^  it  must  prove  one  more  illustra- 
tion of  the  fact  that,  in  the  words  of  Mr.  George  William 
Curtis,  "  Our  political  constitution  was  not  an  inspiration,  it 
was  an  application."  * 

*Addre8S  at  the  Twenty-fifth  Anniversary  of  Vassar  College,  p.  28. 


XIV.-ENGLISH  POPULAR  UPRISINGS  IN  THE  MIDDLE  AGES. 


By  DR.  GEORGE  KRIEHN, 

OF  JOHNS  HOPKINS  UNIVERSITY. 


149 


ENGLISH  POPULAR  UPRISINGS  IN  THE  MIDDLE  AGES. 


By  George  Kriehn. 


A  series  of  popular  upheavals  marked  the  close  of  the 
middle  ages  iu  central  and  western  Europe.  These  move- 
ments were  popular  even  to  a  more  marked  extent  than 
modern  revolutions  j  the  lower  classes  arose  almost  to  a  man. 
They  swept  away  their  masters,  and  it  seemed  as  if  unheard- 
of  reforms  were  about  to  be  inaugurated.  But  only  for  a 
moment!  Oecturies  have  elapsed  since  then,  yet  even  now 
the  demands  of  the  patriot  leaders  have  not  been  fully  realized. 

Partly  by  treachery,  partly  by  force  of  arms,  the  mediaeval 
revolutions  were  suppressed.  Their  events  were  forgotten,  or, 
worse  still,  only  recorded  to  be  condemned,  to  become  a  favorite 
theme  of  eighteenth-century  historians  against  the  deadly  sin 
of  rebellion.  ]S"ot  until  our  own  times  have  they  begun  to 
receive  a  part  of  the  attention  they  merit.  And  yet  they  were 
of  no  small  influence  on  the  society  they  strove  to  reform; 
the  rising  in  1381  gave  the  death-blow  to  English  serfdom; 
the  Jacquerie  destroyed  many  a  stronghold  of  oppression  in 
France;  a  thousand  flaming  castles  and  monasteries  lighted 
the  march  of  the  German  peasants  in  their  great  struggle  for 
liberty  in  1524-'25. 

Such  important  factors  in  history  deserve  special  investiga- 
tion for  their  own  sake.  To  Americans  they  should  be  of  par- 
ticular interest.  Our  national  existence  began  with  a  revolu- 
tion; what  subject  could  be  more  noteworthy  to  us  than  former 
rebellions  of  our  ancestors,  unsuccessful  though  they  were? 
What  analogies  do  they  present  to  modern  revolutions  ?  The 
study  of  mediaeval  agrarian  and  labor  troubles  may  perhaps 
aid  us  to  solve  our  own. 

Of  all  such  disturbances  the  English  are  probably  the  most 
instructive,  because  they  were  of  common  occurrence,  more 
successful,  and  of  more  lasting  influence  on  social  conditions. 

151 


152  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

It  is  somewliat  remarkable  that  comparatively  little  has  been 
done  in  this  field,  especially  when  we  consider  the  importance 
generally  conceded  it  by  the  foremost  English  historians.* 

Whilst  studying  abroad  the  author  first  directed  his  atten- 
tion to  the  study  of  mediaeval  revolts,  having  written  his 
graduating  thesis  on  one  of  them,  the  English  rising  in  1450.t 
Upon  his  return  to  America  these  studies  were  further  prose- 
cuted under  the  kind  encouragement  of  Prof.  Herbert  B. 
Adams,  and  partly  embodied  in  a  course  of  lectures  to  the 
graduate  students  of  the  Johns  Hopkins  University  on  Popular 
Uprisings  in  the  Fourteenth,  Fifteenth,  and  Sixteenth  Centu- 
ries.f  A  further  work  on  the  English  Popular  Eevolt  in  1381 
will  soon  appear.  The  reader  is  referred  to  these  investigations 
for  such  new  or  dissenting  views  as  will  be  expressed  in  this 
paper. 

It  is  a  commonplace  that  our  ancestors  were  comparatively 
free  in  the  days  of  Caesar  and  Tacitus,  but  that  they  lost  this 
primitive  freedom  in  course  of  time.  At  first  the  freemen 
were  the  greater  part,  the  ruling  body  of  the  German  tribes; 
by  the  year  1000  the  masses  of  the  English  people  were  serfs 
without  any  legal  rights  against  their  masters.  Once  the  land 
had  belonged  to  the  village  communities  and  to  the  nation ; 
now  lords,  prelates,  and  kings  owned  almost  every  acre.  The 
once  free  Saxon  was  bound  to  the  soil  of  the  manor.  If  he 
belonged  to  the  class  termed  villains,  and  held  the  normal 
holding  of  about  30  acres,  he  must  work  two  or  three  days 
weekly  for  his  lord  throughout  the  year,  to  say  nothing  of  other 
obligations  and  taxes  scarcely  less  onerous.  If  a  cottier, 
holding  a  smaller  plot,  his  duties  were  somewhat  lighter.  He 
had  only  one  protection  against  oppression  and  misrule,  the 
custom  of  the  manor,  as  had  been  the  use  from  time  immemorial. 

In  the  fourteenth  and  fifteenth  centuries  a  change  took 
place  in  the  condition  of  the  peasantry.  England  passed  from 
the  natural  husbandry  to  the  money  basis ;  the  labor  service 
of  the  serf  was  commuted  into  rent.  The  villain  became  a 
yeoman,  or  rent-paying  freeholder;  the  cottier  a  free  agricul- 
tural laborer.  During  the  fourteenth  century  a  number  of 
chanced  events  aided  this  transformation.    I  refer  especially 

*Stubb8'  Constitutional  History,  ii,  449-50;  Thorold  Rogers'  History  of 
Agriculture  and  Prices,  Oxford,  1866,  i,  79-95. 
t  English  Rising  in  1450,  Strasburg,  1892. 
t  Johns  Hopkins  University  Circulars,  May,  1893,  p.  80  sq. 


ENGLISH   POPULAR   UPRISINGS — KRIEHN.  153 

to  the  great  plague  in  1349,  the  famous  black  death,  which 
made  Europe  and  the  Orient  like  to  a  vast  charnel-house.  One- 
third  of  the  population  of  England  perished.  Whole  grillages 
were  swept  away. 

Of  course  labor  became  scarce.  Sheep  wandered  about 
without  shepherds  to  heed  them;  vast  tracts  of  land  lay 
untilled  for  want  of  men  to  plow.  Wages  rose  and  rents  fell. 
The  prices  of  all  the  necessaries  of  life  increased  in  proportion 
and  no  man  could  subsist  on  small  pay.  Yet  little  were  the  wants 
of  the  masses  considered  by  the  landholding  parliament,  the  very 
first  proceeding  of  which  was  to  enact  the  well-known  statute 
of  laborers,  a  measure  that,  under  brutal  penalties,  compelled 
the  workman  to  demand  no  higher  wages  than  before  the 
plague.  The  people's  answer  was  defiance  j  in  country  and 
town  peasants  and  artisans  formed  regular  trades -unions 
against  it.  Forbidden  by  the  government,  they  maintained 
their  organizations  in  secret.  Yeoman  or  villain,  cottier  or 
laborer,  craftsman  or  apprentice :  all  gladly  gave  to  the  common 
cause. 

But  parliament  was  blind  and  deaf  to  public  discontent. 
It  reenacted  the  statute,  enforcing  all  its  clauses  with  increased 
severity.  It  continued  to  raise  heavy  taxes  for  the  needs  of 
the  French  war,  resorting  to  unheard  of  poll  taxes,  which 
exasperated  the  people  beyond  measure.  At  last  a  brutal 
levy  occasioned  the  first  dangerous  outbreaks  in  1381. 

The  contemporary  accounts  of  the  events  of  1381  were  writ- 
ten by  monks  and  other  churchmen  who  had  lost  and  suffered 
through  the  rebellion.  Hence  their  narratives  are  very  one 
sided.  Thomas  of  Walsingham,  historian  of  the  royal  abbey 
St.  Albans,  gave  us  the  longest  account  in  his  Chronica 
Major  a.*  The  works  of  Henry  of  Knighton  t  and  of  the  monk 
of  EvershamI  are  of  importance,  as  is  that  of  the  fanciful, 
unreliable  Sir  Jean  Froissart.  John  Stowe's  Annales  are 
invaluable  on  account  of  their  detailed  narratives  and  the 
author's  faithfulness  in  copying  contemporary  sources.    The 

"  This  work  is  now  lost,  but  has  been  preserved  in  two  works  tbat  repro- 
duced it  almost  verbally :  Thomas  of  Walsingbam's  Historia  Anglicana,  ed. 
Riley,  London,  1863,  and  the  Chronica  Anglica,  ed.  Thompson,  London, 
1874,  both  in  the  Rolls  Series. 

t  Published  by  Roger  Twysden,  Historiaa  Anglican£B  scriptores  decern, 
London,  1652. 

X  Historia  vitse  et  regni  Ricardi  II,  Angliae  regis,  a  monacho  quodam  de 
Eversbam  consignata,  ed.  Th.  Hearnius  Oxonie,  1729. 


154  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

continuation  of  tlie  so-called  Eulogium*  teems  with  important 
information  not  heretofore  utilized.  Among  the  state  papers 
the  EoUs  of  the  Parliament  and  the  court  rolls  recording  the 
legal  proceedings  against  the  insurgents  are  especially  valu- 
able. Modern  historians  have  contented  themselves  with 
noting  particular  phases  of  the  insurrection  j  no  detailed 
account  has  as  yet  appeared. 

The  first  important  outbreak  in  1381  was  a  bitter  conflict 
between  the  townsmen  and  the  University  of  Cambridge. 
About  May  1  the  former  arose  in  open  rebellion  and  compelled 
the  university  of&cials  to  renounce  all  their  oppressive  privi- 
leges over  the  town.  The  first  uprising  of  the  rural  tenantry 
occurred  in  Essex  somewhat  later,  on  occasion  of  an  enforced 
collection  of  an  oppressive  poll  tax.  All  the  villages  arose; 
such  as  were  reluctant  were  forced  to  march  along  with  the 
rest.  A  compact  body  of  men  under  Wat  Tyler  and  Jack 
Straw  crossed  over  the  Thames  at  Erith,  into  Kent,  in  order  to 
arouse  the  inhabitants  of  that  county  as  well,  t 

On  7th  of  June  a  levy  of  the  inhabitants  of  northwestern 
Kent  was  held  atDartfordj  a  military  and  political  programme 
of  a  general  revolt  and  advance  upon  London  were  there 
agreed  upon.  The  main  body  of  the  rebels  thereupon  marched 
on  Canterbury,  the  chief  city  of  the  county.  On  the  road  they 
stormed  and  took  the  castle  of  Eochester,  releasing  a  towns- 
man of  Gravesend  whose  imprisonment  had  caused  a  general 
uprising  of  the  surrounding  country. 

Canterbury  received  them  with  open  arms ;  mayor  and  bail- 
iffs solemnly  swore  allegiance  to  the  rebellion.  The  citadel 
of  the  city  was  soon  taken,  Sir  William  Sepbrantz,  the  sheriff 
of  Kent,  along  with  it.  The  latter  was  forced  to  deliver  up 
all  rolls  and  muniments  in  his  possession,  which  Tyler,  the 
rebel  leader,  caused  to  be  publicly  burnt.  A  second  division 
broke  into  the  priory  adjoining  the  cathedral  and  rifled  the 
chamber  of  the  archbishop  of  Canterbury,  who  was  at  the 
same  time  chancellor  of  England,  and  therefore  most  cordially 
hated  as  a  chief  author  of  the  misgovernment  then  prevail- 
ing. The  rebels  are  also  accused  of  having  damaged  the 
abbey  of  St.  Yin  cent  and  of  having  committed  various  other 
offenses. 

*  Eulogium  liistoriarum  sive  temporis,  a  monacho  quodam  Malmesburi-, 
ensi  exeratum,  ed.  Haydon,  London  (Rolls  Series),  1858. 
t  Contin,  Eulog.  in,  352. 


ENGLISH   POPULAR   UPRISINGS — KRIEHN.  155 

On  the  morning  of  June  11  they  set  out  for  London,  plun- 
dering the  houses  of  all  whom  they  esteemed  public  enemies  on 
the  way,  and  forcing  all  men  of  note  to  join  them.  In  the 
evening  of  June  12  they  arrived  at  Blackheath,  their  fixed 
camp,  where  a  number  of  men  awaited  them,  so  that  their 
number  perhaps  amounted  to  20,000,  all  told.  The  chief 
prophet  of  the  rebellion,  an  heretical  priest  named  John  Ball, 
whose  fiery,  socialistic  sermons  had  long  been  the  delight  of 
the  peasantry,  and  the  terror  of  clergy  and  nobility,  was  among 
them.  The  text  of  his  sermon  held  at  Blackheath  well  illus- 
trates his  doctrine,  as  well  as  the  spirit  that  animated  his 
hearers : 

''  When  Adam  dalf  and  Eve  span 
Who  was  then  the  gentleman." 

The  feast  of  Corpus  Ohristi,  June  13,  was  the  day  generally 
assigned  for  the  advance  on  London.  From  the  northeast 
came  the  men  of  Essex  under  Jack  Straw,  their  captain,  and 
encamped  at  Mile  End,  a  northeastern  suburb.  The  men  of 
all  the  counties  about  the  capital  simultaneously  advanced; 
more  distant  shires  also  sent  in  insurgents.  Most  of  the 
rebels  were  ill  equipped,  but  great  desire  for  freedom  moved 
all  alike  and  made  them  strong. 

In  the  morning  of  June  14  the  southeastern  rebels  were 
admitted  into  London  by  favor  of  the  popular  party.  The  men 
of  Hertfordshire  entered  from  the  north ;  the  way  stood  open 
to  the  levies  of  Essex  in  the  northeast.  Some  of  the  principal 
citizens  of  London  did  not  hesitate  to  make  common  cause 
with  the  rebels,  notwithstanding  the  efforts  of  William  Wal- 
worth, the  mayor ;  the  populace  was  heart  and  soul  in  their 
favor.  Soon  after  the  arrival  of  the  rebels,  perhaps  even 
before  then,  the  latter  had  demolished  a  great  part  of  Savoy, 
a  palace  belonging  to  John,  duke  of  Lancaster,  an  uncle  of 
the  king,  but  very  unpopular  with  the  people. 

One  division  of  the  southeastern  rebels  marched  through 
London,  destroying  a  number  of  houses  of  supposed  public 
enemies.  Thus  the  Temple,  where  the  hated  lawyers  dwelt, 
went  up  in  flames.  The  lodge  of  the  Hospitalers  at  Olerken- 
well  was  totally  destroyed  on  account  of  the  hatred  they  bore 
the  head  of  the  order.  Sir  Robert  Hales,  lord  treasurer  of 
England.  The  main  body  began  a  regular  siege  of  the  tower 
of  London,  where  king  and  court  were  shut  in  like  mice  in  a 
trap.    The  knights  and  men  at  arms  assembled  within,  though 


156  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

powerful  in  numbers,  were  too  panic-stricken  to  offer  effectual 
resistance  J  nothing  remained  but  to  yield  to  tbe  rebels. 
Accordingly  the  boy-king,  Eichard  II,  was  escorted  to  Mile 
End  to  hold  a  conference  with  the  rebels,  whilst  the  unfortu- 
nate ministers  were  left  to  the  mercies  of  the  Kentish  besiegers. 

The  latter  rushed  wildly  into  the  tower  and  siezed  the  chan- 
cellor, treasurer,  and  other  alleged  traitors,  among  whom  were 
four  of  the  chief  collectors  of  the  poll  tax.  They  dragged  their 
victims  to  the  neighboring  Tower  hill,  and  executed  them  with- 
out mercy. 

At  Mile  End  were  assembled  all  the  rebels  who  had  come 
from  the  north  and  east,  and  many  from  the  south  as  well. 
In  the  conference  held  there  during  the  evening  of  June  14 
the  King  and  his  advisers  granted  all  the  rebels  demanded : 
that  serfdom  be  abolished ;  that  every  man  be  able  to  buy  and 
sell  free  of  toll  throughout  England;  that  4  pence  an  acre  be 
the  limit  of  rent  for  land  held  in  any  kind  of  tenure;  that  all 
rebels  receive  the  king's  pardon.  Upon  this  the  rebels  of  the 
eastern  and  midland  counties  returned  home. 

The  southeastern  rebels,  however,  were  unwilling  to  accept 
the  same  terms.  Being  mostly  yeomen  or  free  tenantry  they 
had  attained  that  stage  of  development  coveted  by  their  north- 
ern compatriots,  and  sought  rights  still  more  extended.  A 
conference  was  arranged  for  Smithfield,  then  a  northern  suburb 
of  the  capital.  Wat  Tyler,  the  rebel  leader,  was  lured  out  of 
sight  of  his  men  on  plea  of  an  interview  with  the  king  and 
secretly  dispatched  by  the  royal  retinue.*  Under  pretended 
commands  from  their  captain  his  men  were  enticed  without  the 
city  walls.  Troops  collected  by  the  royal  partisans  in  the 
city  then  appeared  on  the  scene,  and  the  result  was  that  the 
rebels,  upon  the  king  promising  all  their  demands,  agreed  to 
go  home. 

Bloody  vengeance  was  executed  on  the  rebels  after  their 
final  dispersal,  notwithstanding  the  royal  word.  Manumis- 
sions and  pardons  were  formally  revoked,  while  a  great  army 
was  summoned  to  crush  out  the  remains  of  the  revolt.  The 
rebel  leaders  were  punished  with  unheard  of  severity. 

The  popular  uprising  in  1381  was  most  variegated  in  char- 
acter.   It  seemed  as  if  all  discontented  elements  (social,  politi- 

*Eulog.  Ill,  353-4;  Stowe,p.288.  This  new  version  of  the  meeting  at 
Smithfield  and  Tyler's  death  is  to  be  preferred  to  the  romantic  but  highly- 
improbable  account  heretofore  accepted 


ENGLISH   POPULAR   UPRISINGS— KRIEHN.  157 

[cal,  and  religious)  had  united  in  a  grand  effort  to  overthrow 
fthe  social  fabric  of  the  day.*  The  central  factor  was  of  course 
a  general  rising  of  the  tenantry  against  the  landed  system. 
This  was  brought  about  by  the  repeated  attempts  of  parliament 
to  enforce  the  statute  of  laborers,  and  to  introduce  poll  taxes, 
and  also  by  the  reactionary  policy  of  the  landlords  in  demand- 
jiDg  labor  services,  even  where  they  had  since  accepted  money 
[payments  for  rent.  The  latter  were  aided  in  their  desire  by 
Hhe  machinations  of  the  lawyers  -,  hence  the  extreme  hatred  of 
[the  rebels  for  that  class. 

In  close  alliance  with  the  peasantry  were  a  number  of  mesne 
Itowns  under  the  jurisdiction  of  spiritual  lords;   indeed,  it 
falmost  seems  as  if  a  general  rising  of  such  boroughs  had  been 
[attempted.    In  St.  Albans  the  townsmen,  under  direct  counte- 
lance  of  Wat  Tyler  and  promised  aid  in  case  of  need,  arose 
[and  extorted  a  charter  of  liberties  from  the  abbot.    William 
Gryndecobbe,  a  heroic  townsman,  was  the  real  head  of  the 
rmovement.    Most  villains  of  the  abbot's  domains  brought  them 
aid,  and  shared  the  success  of  the  rebelUon  by  obtaining  char- 
ters of  liberty  for  themselves.    A  similar  but  far  bloodier  scene 
took  place  at  St.  Edmundsbury  in  Sussex,  where  the  rebels, 
under  John  Wrawe,  a  priest,  beheaded  the  prior  and  a  royal 
justice.    At  Cambridge  another  revolt  against  the  university 
occurred,  in  which  Corpus  Christi  college  was  well-nigh  de- 
stroyed and  much  damage  done.    The  inhabitants  of  Peter- 
borough are  said  to  have  attempted  the  destruction  of  the 
abbey  there. 

Not  only  the  dependent  religious  towns  but  several  great 
cities  and  boroughs  such  as  York,  Scarborough,  and  Beverly  in 
the  north,  Canterbury  and  Bridgewater  in  the  south,  took  open 
part  with  the  rebels.  Indeed,  it  seems  very  reasonable  to 
suppose  that  the  popular  party  in  all  English  towns  favored 
the  rebellion.  For  it  was  about  this  time  that  the  popular 
municipal  government  was  being  absorbed  by  the  great  mer- 
chant companies,  for  which  reason  the  lower  classes  were  very 
restive.  The  rising  in  1381  was  not  only  the  battle  of  serf 
against  landlord,  but  that  of  the  poorer  craftsman  and  artisan 
against  the  rich  civic  aristocrat.  It  was  the  first  great  gen- 
eral conflict  between  capital  and  labor. 

*  The  reformer  John  Wychffe  was  in  no  way  connected  with  the  insur- 
rection, though  some  of  his  converts  probably  were.  See  Gotthard  Lechler, 
JohannvonWiclif,  Leipsic,  1873,  i,  636-65. 


158  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

The  movement  raged  far  and  wide  throughout  the  country. 
A  certain  sort  of  organization  seems  to  have  prevailed;  the 
people  arose  by  counties,  each  one  under  a  separate  captain. 
Thus  Wat  Tyler,  also  chief  captain  of  all  the  rebels,  was  cap- 
tain in  Kent,  Jack  Straw  in  Essex,  John  Wrawe  in  Suffolk, 
John  Littestere  in  IN'orfolk,  John  Hanchach  in  Cambridge,  Eob- 
ert  Phippe  in  Huntingdon.  The  purposes  of  the  insurgents 
have  already  been  noticed  in  the  demands  of  these  leaders. 

The  effects  of  the  revolt  in  1381  were  far-reaching  and  of 
great  importance.  Never  was  another  poll  tax  attempted  in 
England;  this  is  of  importance,  as  this  method  of  taxation  was 
fast  becoming  a  precedent.  A  second  effect  was  the  scare  pro- 
duced on  John  of  Gaunt,  who  retired  from  the  field  of  active 
politics,  where  he  had  been  having  a  prevailing  though  not  a 
salutary  influence.  But  its  greatest  result  was  the  terror 
struck  in  the  hearts  of  the  landlords;  they  became  timid  about 
enforcing  labor  services.    Serfdom  received  a  deathblow. 

During  the  fifteenth  century  the  natural  development  quietly 
took  its  course;  a  race  of  sturdy  freeholders  took  the  place  of 
the  serfs,  an  age  of  unprecedented  prosperity  dawned  for  the 
English  workingman.  Necessaries  of  life  were  cheap,  rents 
very  low,  and  wages  universally  high.  It  was  the  golden  age 
of  English  labor. 

Just  this  prosperity  made  the  workman  impatient  of  oppres- 
sion and  misrule,  and  caused  the  frequent  disturbances  of  the 
fifteenth  century.  I  shall  give  no  details  on  the  numerous 
Lollard  revolts,  as  these  socialistic  Wicliffites  were  at  best  a 
small  though  a  very  pertinacious  minority.  No  great  national 
movement  occurred  till  1450,  the  year  of  the  so-called  Cade's 
rebellion.  For  a  description  and  interpretation  of  the  histor- 
ical sources  I  beg  to  refer  to  the  thesis  mentioned  above. 

One  of  its  main  causes  was  the  overtaxation  resulting  on 
Henry  YI's  glory  in  France.  The  income  from  the  royal 
domains,  which  contributed  the  nucleus  of  the  revenue,  had 
been  squandered,  wherefore  the  want  was  more  keenly  felt. 
Another  cause  was  the  prevailing  misgovernment  in  England, 
the  common  bribery  and  corruption  in  all  circles  of  the  Gov- 
ernment; a  third,  the  loss  of  France,  which  wounded  national 
pride,  and  had  well-nigh  ruined  the  wool  trade.  But  none  of 
the  important  complaints  of  the  rebels  are  social  or  religious. 
The  movement  was  purely  political.  It  was  a  tide  of  popular 
opinion  in  favor  of  the  Yorkist  or  reform  party,  perhaps  under 


ENGLISH   POPULAR   UPRISINGS — KRIEHN.  159 

the  countenance  of  the  duke  of  York  himself.  Kot  only  the 
lower  classes,  but  also  the  gentry,  and  even  some  of  the  nobil- 
ity, were  implicated. 

The  rebellion  began  in  Kent  during  the  latter  part  of  May. 
The  people  of  the  different  hundreds,  well  ordered  and  organ- 
ized, appeared  under  their  constables  like  the  militia  in  a  reg- 
ular levy.  As  in  1381  they  fixed  a  camp  at  Blackheath,  but 
retreated  on  the  approach  of  the  royal  forces  under  king  Henry 
yi  in  person.  A  detachment  following  them  in  hot  pursuit 
was  defeated  and  cut  to  pieces  at  Sevenoaks  on  June  18.  The 
remainder  of  the  king's  troops  disbanded,  and  on  July  3  the 
rebels,  after  having  recruited  in  Sussex,  forced  their  way  into 
London  by  favor  of  the  populace.  On  the  day  following  the 
heads  of  Say,  the  lord  treasurer,  and  Orowmer,  sheriff  of  Kent, 
fell  on  the  block.  At  length  the  hostile  city  council,  aided 
by  the  garrison  of  the  Tower,  strove  to  exclude  the  rebels  by 
occupying  London  bridge  in  the  night  of  July  5.  A  bloody 
though  undecided  fight  took  place,  and  lasting  quiet  was  only 
established  when  members  of  the  royal  council  accepted  the 
complaints  and  demands  of  the  rebels,  and  granted  a  general 
pardon  to  all.  Their  captain  was  killed  soon  afterwards.  He 
must  have  been  a  man  of  considerable  ability  to  keep  such 
excellent  order  and  lead  them  so  successfully,  though  we  know 
as  little  of  his  name  as  of  his  life  or  character. 

The  rising  In  1450  was  by  no  means  a  local  Kentish  outbreak. 
The  commons  of  Essex  came  to  London  by  appointment  to 
meet  Cade;  the  people  of  Dorset  and  Wiltshire,  rose  against 
their  hated  bishop  of  Salisbury,  put  him  to  death,  and  confis- 
cated all  his  possessions.  In  south,  east,  west,  and  middle 
England  the  rebellion  raged;  only  the  north  was  free.  It  was 
a  great  national  movement. 

The  causes  of  the  popular  revolt  in  1469  were  precisely  sim- 
ilar to  those  of  1450.  Prevailing  evils  had  not  been  diminished 
by  the  accession  of  the  house  of  York,  only  that  Edward  IV's 
favorites  were  now  universally  detested  instead  of  Henry  YI's. 
This  time  the  scene  shifts  to  the  north.  Eising  against  the 
tax  collectors,  the  peasants,  15,000  strong,  under  a  certain 
Eobin  of  Eedesdale,  marched  on  York,  but  were  defeated  by 
a  brother  of  Warwick,  the  king-maker.  They  soon  rallied, 
however,  and,  countenanced  by  Clarence,  the  king's  brother, 
and  Warwick  himself,  marched  southward,  and  utterly  defeated 
the  royal  forces  at  Edgecote. 


160  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Several  unpopular  ministers  were  taken  and  beheaded,  the 
queen's  father  and  brother  among  them.  The  king  himself 
was  obliged  to  surrender,  whereupon  Warwick  dismissed  the 
people,  who  returned  home.  The  fruits  of  the  victory  remained 
in  the  hands  of  Warwick  and  Clarence,  just  where  the  people 
wished  to  put  them. 

Just  as  the  rising  in  1450  ushered  in  the  wars  of  the  roses, 
announcing  the  general  favor  of  the  nation  for  the  house  of 
York,  that  of  1469  announced  a  great  revulsion  against  a  king 
of  that  house,  guided  by  Warwick,  the  people's  friend. 

A  change  now  comes  over  the  scene.  In  the  latter  part  of 
the  fifteenth  century  and  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  the 
face  of  England  was  transformed  from  plow  to  pasture  land. 
Sheep  farming  was  introduced,  because  wool  brought  higher 
prices  than  wheat  and  required  little  labor  to  raise.  Contrary 
to  all  law  and  right,  landlords  evicted  their  tenants  and 
inclosed  the  common  pastures.  The  land  was  filled  with  vag- 
abonds and  beggars;  at  the  same  time  prices  were  enhanced 
by  the  debasement  of  the  currency  under  Henry  YIII  and  his 
successors,  whereas  wages  were  slower  to  rise.  A  little  before, 
the  dissolution  of  the  monasteries  had  put  a  band  of  merciless 
land-grabbers  in  the  place  of  the  monks,  who  were  often  easy 
landlords. 

Parliament  has  done  its  utmost  against  illegal  inclosures 
and  evictions,  but  in  vain.  Another  rising  of  the  peasants  in 
1549,  but  which  does  not  come  under  the  scope  of  this  paper, 
failed  to  effect  the  same  purpose.  Since  then  the  fortunes  of 
the  English  workman  steadily  declined,  until  only  the  nine- 
teenth century  brought  about  a  change  for  the  better.  None 
of  the  great  reformers  or  statesmen  favored  him;  not  a  single 
law  was  made  for  his  benefit.  The  much-lauded  poor  laws  of 
queen  Elizabeth  only  forced  the  landlord  to  maintain  as  a 
pauper  him  whom  he  had  deprived  of  his  land.  The  law  of 
parochial  settlement,  passed  under  Charles  II,  made  him  a  serf 
without  land.  Hostile  legislation  thwarted  the  relief  that 
would  otherwise  have  been  afforded  by  the  invention  of  steam, 
so  that  at  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century  the  workman  could 
buy  just  one-eighth  as  much  wheat  for  his  wages  as  in  the 
fifteenth. 

The  middle  ages,  then,  were  not  so  disastrous  for  the  people. 
England  has  progressed,  it  is  true,  but  the  laborer  has  not 
received  a  corresponding  share  of  the  advancement.    Merchant 


ENGLISH   POPULAR   UPRISINGS — KRIEHN. 


161 


and  landholder  have  fared  far  better  than  he.  His  condition  is 
in  many  respects  superior  to  that  of  the  mediaeval  serf,  but 
not  absolutely  so;  for  the  latter,  at  least,  had  plenty  to  eat 
and  a  hut  to  protect  him  from  the  weather,  whereas  our  out- 
casts often  starve  and  have  not  where  to  lay  their  heads. 
There  are  more  starving,  homeless  wretches  in  the  great  cities 
of  England  to-day  than  there  ever  were  serfs  in  the  whole 
island.  They  live  in  far  more  squalid  and  abject  poverty  than 
the  meanest  mediaeval  bondman.  Not  until  the  masses  enjoy 
more  economic  in  additional  to  personal  freedom  may  we  vaunt 
our  absolute  social  superiority  over  the  middle  ages.  Oh, 
that  we  might  add  some  of  the  prosperity  of  the  fourteenth  and 
fifteenth  centuries  to  the  culture  and  progress  of  the  nine- 
teenth !  * 


*  For  the  economical  development  of  England  throughout  tlie  period 
Thorold  Rogers'  Six  Centuries  of  Work  and  Wages. 


S.  Mis.  104 11 


I 


XV -JEFFERSON  AND  THE  SOCIAL  COMPACT  THEORY. 


By  PROFESSOR  GEORGE  P.  FISHER, 
OF  TALE  UXIVERSITT. 


163 


JEFFERSON  AND  THE  SOCIAL  COMPACT  THEORY/ 


By  George  P.  Fisher. 


The  theory  of  Social  Compact  founds  the  authority  of  gov- 
ernment on  the  express  or  implied  consent  of  the  subjects  to  its 
creation  or  continuance.  There  are  various  types  of  the  theory, 
but  they  agree  in  postulating,  in  some  form,  as  the  condition 
of  rightful  authority  in  the  state,  a  pact  between  the  governors 
and  the  governed.  In  the  conservative  form  of  the  theory,  this 
pact  is  merely  a  theoretic  implication  which  serves  to  define 
the  mutual  obligations  of  ruler  and  subject.  In  the  more  radi- 
cal form,  the  actual  consent  of  the  people,  or  of  a  major  portion 
of  them ,  is  assumed  to  be  requisite  to  the  validity  of  a  civil 
polity. 

The  genesis  of  the  Social  Compact  theory  is  a  point  of  much 
historical  interest.  To  investigate  the  rise  and  progress  of 
this  doctrine  does  not  fall,  however,  within  our  present  pur- 
pose. Many  t  find  the  germ  of  the  theory,  which  was  developed 
by  subsequent  writers,  in  the  sentence  of  Grotius :  ^^Civilis 
juris  mater  est  ipso  ex  consensu  obligatio. "  Grotius  in  effect 
teaches  that  there  is  a  tacit  agreement  on  the  part  of  the  peo- 
ple of  a  monarchy  or  republic  to  obey  the  will  of  the  sovereign 
or  the  majority.  Before  him,  however,  Hooker  had  presented 
the  same  doctrine;  his  view  being  that  an  original  consent  of 
a  people  to  be  subject  to  a  sovereign  binds  posterity  as  parts 
of  one  corporation.  We  lived,  he  says,  in  our  remote  ancestors.f 
The  idea  was  transformed,  in  the  hands  of  Hobbes,  into  the 
distinct  conception  of  an  original  contract — of  a  state  of  nature 
as  preceding  civil  society — which,  though  acknowledged  by 
him  to  be  a  fiction,  as  far  as  actual  history  is  concerned,  is, 
nevertheless,  the  basis  of  his  reasoning  in  behalf  of  absolutism 
in  government.  Locke  differs  from  Hobbes  in  placing  the 
sovereignty,  conceded  by  man  on  passing  from  the  state  of 
nature  into  society,  in  the  community,  instead  of  an  absolute 

*  Printed  in  The  Yale  Review,  February,  1894. 

tE.  g.,  Leo,  in  his  Universalgeschichte,  B.  in,  S.  717. 

t  Ecclesiastical  Polity,  i,  x,  8. 

165 


166  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

prince.  Locke  was  mucli  affected  by  the  writings  of  Hobbes, 
more  often,  to  be  sure,  in  the  way  of  repulsion  than  attraction. 
A  leading  doctrine  in  Locke's  Eeasonableness  of  Christianity 
is  the  same  that  Hobbes  endeavors  to  establish  in  the  Levi- 
athan, the  doctrine  that  the  substance  of  Christianity,  as 
preached  by  the  Apostles,  is  the  proposition  that  "Jesus  of 
Kazareth  is  the  Messiah. "  Before  Locke,  however,  Algernon 
Sidney,  in  his  Discourses  concerning  Government  first  pub- 
lished in  1698,  had  broached  the  theory  of  a  contract.  Monte- 
squieu, though  a  frien  d  of  limited  monarchy  after  the  English 
model,  is  considered  by  Leo  (who  is  abater  of  republican  gov- 
ernment) to  have  paved  the  way  for  the  revolutionary  philoso- 
phy of  Eousseau,  by  making  virtue  a  defining  characteristic 
and  only  support  of  popular  as  distinguished  from  aristocratic 
or  monarchical  government.  The  word  contract,  in  a  special 
application  to  the  relation  of  king  and  people  in  the  English 
Constitution,  is  found  in  the  great  vote  of  the  Houses  of  Parlia- 
ment, which  declared  vacant  the  throne  of  James  I,  and  made 
room  for  the  accession  of  William.  In  the  medley  of  reasons 
(for  all  writers  acknowledge  it  to  be  a  medley)  given  for  their 
act,  James  is  charged  with  "  having  endeavored  to  subvert  the 
constitution  of  this  kingdom  by  breaking  the  original  contract 
between  king  and  people."  Such  a  contract  is  thus  declared 
to  be  involved  iu  the  English  Constitution.  Here  a  nice  and 
interesting  question  arises,  whether  the  reference  was  to  a 
primary,  unwritten  contract,  implied  in  the  existence  of  a  gov- 
ernment of  law — a  social  compact — or  to  some  positive  feature 
and  express  provision  of  the  English  system.  Hall  am  would 
seem  to  incline  to  the  former  interpretation.  He  says  that  this 
position  was  "rather  too  theoretical,  yet  necessary  at  that  time, 
as  denying  the  divine  origin  of  monarchy,  from  which  its  ab- 
solute and  indefeasible  authority  had  been  plausibly  derived.* 

They  proceeded  not  by  tlie  stated  rules  of  the  English  Government,  but 
the  general  rights  of  mankind.  They  looked  not  so  much  to  Magna 
Charta  as  the  original  compact  of  society,  and  rejected  Coke  and  Hale  for 
Hooker  and  Harrington. t 

Macaulay,  speaking  of  the  inconsistent  statements  of  the 
great  vote,  there  being  one  reason  put  in  for  each  section  of 
the  majority  who  were  relied  to  pass  on  it,  says  that  "the  men- 
tion of  the  original  contract  gratified  the  disciples  of  Sidney."  | 

*Hallam's  Constitutional  History  (Harper's  ed.),  p.  544. 

t/6.,  p.  546. 

t  Macaulay's  History  of  England  (Harper's  ed.),  Vol.  ii,  p.  580. 


JEFFERSON  AND  SOCIAL  COMPACT  THEORY — FISHER.      167 

Macaulay  defends  the  inexact  and  confused  character  of  the 
vote,  on  grounds  of  expediency,  as  the  proper  way  to  secure 
unanimity 5  remarking  that  the  "essence  of  politics  is  com- 
promise." But  Mackintosh,  with  more  reason,  declares  that  it 
would  have  been  manlier  to  fall  back  openly  upon  the  right  of 
revolution,  instead  of  mixing  up  the  pretense  of  an  abdica- 
tion.* In  the  trial  of  Sacheverell,  the  sense  of  this  vote  and 
the  character  of  the  revolution,  of  which  it  was  a  part,  were 
deliberately  expounded  by  the  managers  of  the  impeachment. 
Sacheverell  had  coupled  with  his  doctrine  of  absolute  submis- 
sion the  assertion  that  the  revolution  was  not  a  case  of  resist- 
ance. But  the  managers  of  the  prosecution  did  not  allow  him 
to  shield  himself  by  this  mode  of  approving  of  the  revolution. 
They  affirmed  that  it  was  a  case  of  forcible  resistance,  and 
that  his  principle  of  nonresistance,  being  a  virtual  condem- 
nation of  it,  would  overthrow  the  title  of  the  reigning  sover- 
eign. Yet,  the  ambiguity  of  the  clause  about  the  contract 
between  the  king  and  people  is  not  cleared  away.  A  leading 
manager,  Sir  Joseph  Jekyl,  said : 

To  make  out  the  justice  of  the  revolution,  it  may  be  laid  down,  that  as 
the  law  is  the  only  measure  of  the  Prince's  authority  and  the  people's 
subjection,  so  the  law  derives  its  being  and  efficacy  from  the  common 
consent ;  and  to  place  it  on  any  other  foundation  than  common  consent  is 
to  take  away  the  obligation  this  notion  of  common  consent  puts  prince 
and  people  under  to  observe  the  laws.t 

This  sounds  like  the  Lockeian  Social  compact.  The  revolu- 
tion, the  same  manager  said,  occurred  in  ^^a  case  that  the  law 
of  England  could  never  suppose,  provide  for,  or  have  in 
view."  f    Said  another  manager.  Sir  John  Hawles : 

When  a  government  is  brought  out  of  frame  by  the  extraordinary  steps 
of  a  prince,  it  is  a  vain  thing  to  hope  that  it  can  ever  be  set  right  by 
regular  steps. 

.  "  The  revolution,"  it  is  said,  "  can  not  be  urged  as  an  instance 
of  the  lawfulness  of  anything,  but  of  resisting  the  supreme 
executive  power  acting  in  opposition  to  the  laws."  §  But  when 
challenged  to  produce  the  contract  between  king  and  people 
Sir  Joseph  Jekyl  refers  to  the  history  of  the  coronation  oath, 
of  the  oath  of  allegiance,  to  ancient  customs  and  forms,  which 
involve  such  a  contract.  That  is  to  say,  he  makes  his  appeal 
to  usages  and  peculiarities  interwoven  with  the  constitution, 

*  Mackintosh's  History  of  the  English  Revolution. 

t  State  Trials,  Vol.  xv,  p.  98. 

tl&.,  p.  110.  $76.,  p.  383. 


168  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

as  if  the  contract  were  a  positive  thing,  a  feature  of  the  Eng- 
lish system  of  government,  rather  than  the  underlying  basis  of 
all  civil  society  5  at  least  where  there  is  monarchy.  This  is 
insisted  upon — that  there  was  no  law  providing  for  the  revolu- 
tionary action .  It  was  an  exercise  of  power  not  provided  for  by 
any  existing  statute.  But  it  was  an  act  of  the  community,  hav- 
ing for  its  end  the  recovery  of  the  constitution  and  laws.  The 
right  to  perform  such  an  act  is  not  extended  beyond  the  case  in 
question,  where  there  was  an  actual  necessity  of  restoring  the 
government  and  of  saving  the  Constitution  from  being  over- 
thrown. It  is  only  the  right  of  conservative  revolution  that  is 
claimed.  There  is  nothing,  therefore,  in  their  mode  of  stating 
the  English  right  of  resistance  to  determine  with  certainty 
whether  the  managers  held  that  the  contract  between  king  and 
people  is  a  positive  and  special  characteristic  of  English  insti- 
tutions or  a  fundamental  part  of  all  monarchial  society.  At  the 
time  of  the  Eevolution,  when  the  question  of  the  condition  in 
which  things  were  left  by  the  departure  of  James  was  under 
debate  in  Parliament,  some  one  suggested  that  they  were  left 
in  a  state  of  nature.  But  it  was  immediately  replied  that  such 
a  view  would  dissolve  all  laws  and  abolish  all  franchises.  The 
truth  appears  to  be,  as  far  as  the  act  of  dethroning  James  and 
enthroning  William  is  concerned,  they  could  properly  plead 
only  the  right  of  revolution.  The  precise  meaning,  when  they 
spoke  of  breach  of  compact  between  king  and  people,  was 
probably  apprehended  by  few,  if  any,  of  the  actors  themselves. 
Burke,  in  his  famous  "  Keflections  on  the  French  Eevolu- 
tion," does  not  absolutety  exclude  the  notion  of  a  "consent"  on 
the  part  of  subjects  as  implied  in  the  existence  of  lawful  gov- 
ernment. He  teaches  that  men  have  an  equal  right  to  the 
advantages  for  which  society  was  created.  The  management 
of  the  State,  however,  not  being  among  the  original  rights  of 
man,  does  not  belong  equally  to  all.  The  obligations  of  the 
subject  do  not  depend  on  any  voluntary,  formal  act  of  consent 
on  his  part.  It  is  no  violation  of  natural  rights  when  political 
power  is  lodged  with  a  few,  or  with  one  man,  provided  the 
ends  of  government  are  attained.  In  saying  that  the  man- 
agement of  the  State  is  ''a  thing  to  be  settled  by  convention," 
and  in  using  the  terms,  "  compact  of  the  State,"  the  social 
"partnership,"  Burke  has  no  intention,  it  hardly  needs  to  be 
said,  to  sanction  the  doctrine  that  an  explicit  consent  of  the 
people,  or  of  the  major  part  of  them,  to  the  creation  ot  a  par- 
ticular government  and  to  the  selection  of  those  who  adminis- 


JEFFERSON  AND  SOCIAL  COMPACT  THEORY FISHER.       169 

ter  it,  is  necessary,  if  the  subject  is  to  be  bound  to  obedience. 
On  this  topic  Burke  writes  thus : 

Though  civil  society  might  be  at  first  a  voluntary  act  (which,  in  many 
cases,  it  undoubtedly  was)  its  continuance  is  under  a  permanent  standing 
covenant,  coexisting  with  the  society;  and  it  attaches  upon  every  indi- 
vidual of  that  society,  without  any  formal  act  of  his  own.  This  is  war- 
ranted by  the  general  practice,  arising  out  of  the  general  sense  of  mankind. 
Men,  without  their  choice,  derive  benefits  from  that  association ;  without 
their  choice  they  are  subjected  to  duties  in  consequence  of  these  benefits; 
and  without  their  choice  they  enter  into  a  virtual  obligation  as  binding 
as  any  that  is  actual.  Much  the  strongest  moral  obligations  are  such  as 
were  never  the  results  of  our  option.  *  *  *  w"e  have  obligations  to 
mankind  at  large  which  are  not  in  consequence  of  any  special  voluntary 
pact.  They  arise  from  the  relation  of  man  to  man,  and  the  relation  of 
man  to  God,  which  relations  are  not  matters  of  choice.  *  *  *  Dark 
and  inscrutable  are  the  ways  by  which  we  come  into  the  world.  The  in- 
stincts which  give  rise  to  this  mysterious  process  of  nature  are  not  of  our 
making.  But  out  of  physical  causes,  unknown  to  us,  perhaps  unknowable, 
arise  moral  duties  which,  as  we  are  able  perfectly  to  comprehend,  we  are 
bound  indispensable  to  perform.  Parents  may  not  be  consenting  to  their 
moral  relation ;  but,  consenting  or  not,  they  are  bound  to  a  long  train  of 
burdensome  duties  towards  those  with  whom  they  have  never  made  a  con- 
vention of  any  sort.  Children  are  not  consenting  to  their  relation,  but 
their  relation,  without  their  actual  consent,  binds  them  to  its  duties ;  or 
rather  it  implies  their  consent,  because  the  presumed  consent  of  every 
rational  creature  is  in  unison  with  the  predisposed  order  of  things.  Men 
come  in  that  manner  into  a  community  with  the  social  state  of  their 
parents,  endowed  with  all  the  benefits,  loaded  with  all  the  duties  of  their 
situation.  If  the  social  ties  and  ligaments  spun  out  of  those  physical 
relations  which  are  the  elements  of  the  commonwealth,  inmost  cases  begin, 
and  always  continue,  independently  of  our  will  (so  without  any  stipulation 
on  our  own  part  we  are  bound  by  that  relation  called  our  country,  which 
comprehends  (as  it  has  been  well  said)  "  all  the  charities  of  all."  *  Nor  are 
we  left  without  powerful  instincts  to  make  this  duty  as  dear  and  grateful 
to  us  as  it  is  awful  and  coercive.  Our  country  is  not  a  thing  of  mere  physi- 
cal locality.  It  consists,  in  a  great  measure,  in  the  ancient  order  into 
which  we  are  born.  We  may  have  the  same  geographical  situation,  but 
another  country ;  as  we  may  have  the  same  country  in  another  soil.  The 
place  that  determines  our  duty  to  our  country  is  a  social,  civil  relation. t 

*  Omnes  omnium  charitates  patria  una  complectitur.     Cicero. 

t  Vol.  Ill,  p.  460.  In  agreement  with  Burke's  definition  of  terms  are  the 
observations  of  Blackstone  on  the  same  topic,  in  his  Commentaries,  (Intro- 
duction, section  2).  "But  though  society,"  says  Blackstone,  ''had  not 
its  formal  beginning  from  any  convention  of  individuals,  actuated  by  their 
wants  and  their  fears ;  yet  it  is  a  sense  of  their  weakness  and  imperfection 
that  keeps  mankind  together;  and  that,  therefore,  is  the  solid  and  natural 
foundation,  as  well  as  the  cement  of  civil  society.  And  this  is  what  we 
mean  by  the  original  contract  of  society."  The  author  proceeds  to  say 
that  protection  of  the  rights  of  the  individual  by  society,  and  submission 
to  the  laws  by  him  in  return,  are  the  parts  of  the  compact. 


170  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Utterly  antagonistic  to  the  principles  and  the  spirit  of  Burke 
is  the  famous  treatise  of  Eousseau,  the  Social  Contract,  which 
more  than  any  other  work  was  the  text-book  of  the  French 
Eevolution.  It  is  significant  that  the  whole  discussion  is 
reared  upon  speculations  relative  to  the  origin  of  civil  society. 
Rights  and  obligations  must  all  be  inferred  with  mathematical 
exactitude  from  the  fundamental  theory  adopted  at  the  start. 
This  theory  assumes  that  the  existence  of  society  is  optional 
with  men  and  is  due  to  their  voluntary  consent.  Individuals 
are  bound  by  the  actual  social  bond  only  because,  and  as  far  as, 
they  have  agreed  to  be  bound.  This  false  dogma  of  mutual 
contract  is  laid  at  the  foundation  of  the  edifice.  It  is  further 
held  that  the  individual  in  entering  society  surrenders  all  his 
rights  to  the  community,  and  through  this  common  act  of  all 
there  instantly  arises  the  body  politic.  To  the  community, 
thus  formed,  belongs  sovereignty.  The  general  will  is  now  the 
supreme  law.  To  this  general  will  the  entire  framework  of 
government  is  subject.  The  idea  of  "institutional"  freedom, 
of  freedom  secured  and  assured  to  the  individual  by  constitu- 
tional safeguards,  against  the  haste  or  deliberate  tyranny  of 
majorities,  is  discarded.  Representative  government  itself  is 
derided  as  a  product  and  sign  of  the  decay  of  public  spirit.* 
Of  course  the  state  must  be  restricted  to  narrow  territorial 
limits.  But  what  is  this  general  will  which  is  so  omnipotent  in 
the  state?  It  turns  out  to  be  merely  the  majority  of  suffrages. 
When  the  vote  of  a  citizen  upon  any  measure  is  called  for,  the 
question  really  answered  by  him  is  what,  in  his  opinion,  is  the 
general  will  in  reference  to  this  measure.  The  result  of  the 
ballot  decides  the  point,  and  thus  if  he  finds  himself  in  the 
minority  he  is  not  really  overruled,  but  simply  mistaken  in  his 
judgment  as  to  what  the  general  will  is.t    It  is  impossible  to 

*  Rousseau  explicitly  says  that  every  law  which  is  not  expressly  ratified 
by  popular  vote  is  no  law ;  and  that  the  English,  through  their  adherence 
to  representative  government,  are  slaves.  ''Toute  loi  que  le  peuple  en 
personne  n'a  pas  ratifi^e  est  nulle;  ce  n'est  point  une  loi.  Le  peuple  Ang- 
lois  pense  etre  libre,  il  se  trompe  fort :  il  ne  Test  que  durant  Telection  des 
membres  du  parlement:  sit6t  qu'ils  sont  elus,  il  est  esclave,  il  n'est  rien." 
(Livre  iii,  Ch.  xv.) 

1  This  curious,  though  puerile  subterfuge  for  saving  (theoretically)  the 
freedom  of  the  individual,  when  overborne  by  the  vote  of  the  majority,  is 
found  in  Liv.  iv,  ch.  ii  (Des  Suffrages.)  "Quand  done  I'avis  contraire  au 
mien  I'importe,  cela  ne  prouve  autre  chose  sinon  que  je  m'etois  trompd,  et 
que  j'estimois  §tre  la  volont6  generale  ne  F^toit  pas." 


JEFFERSON  AND  SOCIAL  COMPACT  THEORY — FISHER.      171 

imagine  a  more  frightful  despotism  than  Eousseau's  sover- 
eignty of  the  people,  under  which  the  individual  has  literally- 
given  up  everything  to  the  unchecked  will  of  the  majority. 
Equality,  which  more  than  liberty  is  the  idol  of  the  French- 
man, is  the  keynote  of  Eousseau's  entire  work.  Yiews  akin  to 
those  expressed  in  this  ingenious  but  superficial  essay  have 
fascinated  the  French  mind,  and  led  to  the  sacrifice  of  both 
stable  government  and  substantial  freedom.  On  the  warrant 
afforded  by  a  popular  vote  (called  for,  according  to  the  more 
approved  practice,  after  the  deed  has  been  done),  one  govern- 
ment is  overthrown  and  a  new  one  set  up,  and  the  entire  com- 
munity, perhaps,  brought  under  the  uncontrolled  sway  of  an 
imperial  despot.  This  terrible  price  is  paid  for  the  sake  of 
having  a  government  which  is  (in  theory)  of  their  own  making. 
The  protection  of  narural  rights — a  prime  object  of  society — is, 
in  iiact,  given  up,  in  consequence  of  the  hot  chase  after  politi- 
cal rights;  and  even  these  are  not  attained.* 

We  are  more  apt  to  connect  the  theory  of  the  Social  Com- 
pact with  the  name  of  a  true  lover  of  liberty,  John  Locke,  a 
man,  in  all  that  constitutes  human  excellence,  at  a  high  eleva- 

*  Burke  has  left  on  record  liis  opinion  of  the  Social  Contract  and  its 
author.  In  a  letter  to  a  French  correspondent  (in  1789),  quoted  in  Prior's 
Life  of  Burke  (Am.  Ed.,  1825,  p.,  313),  he  says :  ''  I  have  read  long  since  the 
Contrat  Social.  It  has  left  very  few  traces  upon  my  mind.  I  thought  it 
a  performance  of  little  or  no  merit,  and  little  did  I  conceive  that  it  could 
ever  make  revolutions  and  give  law  to  nations ;  but  so  it  is."  In  Burke's 
"Letter  to  a  member  of  the  National  Assembly"  (1791),  we. find  a  dissec- 
tion of  Rousseau,  whom  he  calls  ''the  great  founder  and  professor  of  the 
philosophy  of  vanity."  Burke's  satire  upon  the  sentimental  philanthropy 
which  tramples  under  foot  particular  duties  is  excellent.  Rousseau  is 
the  father  of  the  sentimental  school  of  poets  (not  excepting  Byron  and 
Goethe)  and  novelists,  who  seek  to  make  a  criminal  interesting  by  weav- 
ing around  him  a  veil  of  sentiment,  aiming  to  excite  sympathy  where  rep- 
robation is  the  proper  feeling.  There  is  a  very  curious  fact  concerning 
Rousseau,  which  Burke  brings  forward  in  the  ''Reflections."  " Mr.  Hume 
told  me  that  he  had  from  Rousseau  himself  the  secret  of  his  principles  of 
composition.  That  acute,  though  eccentric,  observer,  had  perceived  that 
to  strike  and  interest  the  public  the  marvelous  must  be  produced ;  that 
the  marvelous  of  the  heathen  mythology  had  long  since  lost  its  effect ; 
that  giants,  magicians,  fairies,  and  heroes  of  romance  which  succeeded 
had  exhausted  the  portion  of  credulity  which  belonged  to  their  age;  that 
now  nothing  was  left  to  a  writer  but  that  species  of  the  marvelous  which 
might  still  be  produced,  and  with  as  great  an  effect  as  ever,  though  in 
another  way;  that  this-  the  marvelous  in  life,  manners,  in  characters,  and 
in  extraordinary  situations,  giving  rise  to  new  and  unlooked  for  strokes 
in  politics  and  morals." 


172  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

tiou  above  Eousseau.  The  negative  part  of  Locke's  treatise  on 
government,  wherein  he  demolishes  the  arguments  of  Filmer 
in  favor  of  absolute  monarchy  as  a  legitimate  inheritance  from 
Adam  and  from  the  dominion  of  the  patriarchs,  is  fully  suc- 
cessful. His  task  was  here  comparatively  easy.  So  the  sec- 
ond book  of  Locke's  treatise  is  marked  by  signal  merits.  The 
sentiment  of  hostility  to  tyranny  that  inspires  the  work  is 
characteristic  of  the  author.  The  natural  rights  of  men,  such 
as  the  rights  of  property,  are  declared  to  be  not  the  creatures 
of  civil  society,  but  the  end  of  society  is  properly  defined  to 
be  the  protection  of  them,  though  the  error  is  committed  of 
making  the  prime  object  of  the  commonwealth  to  be  the  secu- 
rity of  property.  The  function  of  government,  also,  is  limited 
to  the  end  for  which  government  is  established.  The  state, 
however  it  may  be  constituted,  must  keep  to  its  design.  But 
Locke  falls  into  the  great  error  of  supposing  that  the  consent 
of  the  individual  is  necessary  in  order  to  his  transference  from 
an  imaginary  state  of  nature  within  the  fold  and  under  the 
obligations  of  civil  society.  Every  man,  says  Locke,  is  natu- 
rally free  and  nothing  is  "able  to  put  him  into  subjection  to 
any  earthly  power  but  only  his  own  consent."*  Men  being,  as 
has  been  said,  by  nature,  all  free,  equal,  and  independent,  no 
one  can  be  put  out  of  this  estate  and  subjected  to  the  political 
power  of  another  without  his  own  consent."  t  Compelled  by 
his  theory,  Locke  affirms  that  every  one  actually,  though  tac- 
itly, gives  his  consent  to  the  social  compact  when  he  comes  of 
age  by  the  very  act  of  inheriting  property  in  a  country.  Every 
generation  by  these  separate  acts  of  individuals  renews  the 
compact  J  otherwise  society  would  be  dissolved.  Moreover, 
Locke  assumes  (for  he  fails  to  prove)  that  the  assent  to  the 
social  compact  implies  a  promise  to  be  governed  by  a  majority. 
"When  any  number  of  men,  by  the  consent  of  every  individual, 
made  a  community,  they  have  thereby  made  that  community 
one  body,  with  a  power  to  act  as  one  body,  which  is  only  by 
the  will  and  determination  of  the  majority."  f  Instead  of 
founding  society,  with  Burke,  upon  a  divinely  ordained  "pre- 
disposed order  of  things,"  with  which  the  will  of  every  rational 
being  is  assumed  to  agree,  Locke  makes  the  mistake  of 
requiring,  as  a  condition  of  the  validity  of  government,  an 
explicit  act  and  the  voluntary  consent  of  every  one  who  is 

*  Locke's  Works  (London,  1794),  Vol.  iv,  p.  409. 
t  Ih.,  p.  394.  X  Works,  Vol.  iv,  p.  395. 


JEFFERSON  AND  SOCIAL  COMPACT  THEORY — FISHER.      173 

born  in  a  country.  In  taking  this  ground  he  advanced  be- 
yond any  statements  of  Hooker,  whose  authority  he  is  able  to 
bring  in  support  of  the  principle  that  society  owes  its  origin 
to  an  express  or  secret  agreement,  and  that  no  human  govern- 
ment is  binding  without  the  consent  of  the  governed.  Hooker, 
as  we  have  said,  avoids  the  necessity  of  getting  the  consent 
of  every  new  generation  to  the  existing  form  of  society  by 
falling  back  upon  the  notion  of  the  continued  life  of  a  corpo- 
ration. The  motive  of  Locke,  we  may  add,  was  the  honorable 
one  of  defending  the  rightfulness  of  the  change  of  dynasty  by 
which  the  Stuarts  were  expelled  and  the  Prince  of  Orange 
raised  to  the  throne.  He  desired  to  present  a  theory  of  society 
that  would  justify  the  change.  It  were  better,  however,  to 
rest  it  upon  the  simple  right  of  revolution. 

The  doctrine  of  the  Social  Compact  is  embodied  in  a  general 
form  in  the  preamble  of  the  American  Declaration  of  Inde- 
pendence. Men  are  asserted  to  be  by  nature  equal.  Govern- 
ments are  instituted  to  protect  them  in  the  exercise  of  their 
natural  rights,  and  owe  their  powers  to  the  consent  of  the 
governed.  Jefferson  states  that  he  "turned  to  neither  book 
nor  pamphlet  in  writing  it."*  It  is  clear,  however,  that  phrases 
from  the  Virginia  Declaration  of  Eights  were  in  his  thoughts.t 
That  document,  as  drawn  up  by  George  Mason,  contains  the 
following  statements : 

1.  That  all  men  are  created  equally  free  and  independent  and  liave  cer- 
tain inherent  natural  rights,  *  *  *  among  which  are  the  enjoyment  of 
life  and  liberty,  with  the  means  of  acquiring  and  possessing  property  and 
pursuing  and  ohtaining  happiness.     *     *     * 

3.  That  government  is,  or  ought  to  be,  instituted  for  the  common  bene- 
fit, protection,  and  security  of  the  people,  nation,  or  community. t  *  *  * 

In  Jefferson's  first  draft  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence 
he  wrote:  *^That  all  men  are  created  equal  and  independent; 
that  they  are  endowed  by  their  Creator  with  certain  inherent 
and  unalienable  rights,"  etc.  The  terms  "independent"  and 
"  inherent,"  which  occur  also  in  Mason's  paper,  were  ^rased 
from  the  draft  by  Jefferson's  own  hand.  But  the  ultimate 
source  of  a  number  of  thoughts  and  phrases  in  the  theoretical 
part  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  was,  as  Eichard 
Henry  Lee  once  alleged,  Locke's  treatise.  Compare  the  fol- 
lowing passages,  the  first  being  from  the  Declaration : 

*  Jefferson's  Works  (1853),  Vol.  vii,  p.  305. 

t  So  Mr.  Ford  judges:  Jefferson's  Works,  Vol.  i,  p.  26. 

t  Life  and  Correspondence  of  George  Mason,  Vol.  i,  p.  339. 


174  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Prudence,  indeed,  will  dictate  that  governments  long  established  should 
not  be  changed  for  light  and  transient  causes ;  and,  accordingly,  all  expe- 
rience hath  shown  that  mankind  are  more  disposed  to  suffer  while  evils 
are  sufferable  than  to  right  themselves  by  abolishing  the  forms  to  which 
they  are  accustomed.  But  when  a  long  train  of  abuses  and  usurpations, 
pursuing  invariably  the  same  object,  evinces  a  design  to  reduce  them 
under  absolute  despotism,  it  is  their  right,  it  is  their  duty,  to  throw  off 
such  government  and  to  provide  new  guards  for  their  future  security. 

Locke  writes  (p.  472)  : 

Revolutions  happen  not  upon  every  little  mismanagement  in  public 
affairs.  Great  mistakes  in  the  ruling  part,  many  wrong  and  inconvenient 
laws,  and  all  the  slips  of  human  frailty  will  be  borne  by  the  people  without 
mutiny  or  murmur.  But  if  a  long  train  of  abuses,  prevarications,  and 
artifices,  all  tending  the  same  way,  make  the  design  visible  to  the  people, 
and  they  can  not  but  feel  what  they  lie  under  and  see  whither  they  are 
going,  it  is  not  to  be  wondered  that  they  should  then  rouse  themselves 
and  endeavor  to  put  the  rule  into  such  hands  which  may  secure  to  them 
the  ends  for  which  government  was  first  erected. 

Elsewhere  in  the  writings  of  Jefferson  we  find  him  advocat- 
ing the  theory  of  a  social  contract  in  its  most  radical  form  and 
pushing  it  to  conclusions  almost  anarchical  in  their  tendency. 
In  the  midst  of  the  earlier  stages  of  the  French  revolution  he 
wrote  a  letter  from  Paris,  on  September  6, 1789,  addressed  to 
Madison.  In  this  letter  he  propounds  an  extreme  opinion  on 
the  necessity  of  popular  consent  to  the  existence  of  the  organic 
law  of  the  State.  The  following  are  extracts  from  this  remark- 
able epistle: 

The  question  whether  one  generation  of  men  has  a  right  to  bind  another 
seems  never  to  have  been  started  either  on  this  or  our  side  of  the  water. 
Yet  it  is  a  question  of  such  consequence  as  not  only  to  merit  decision  but 
.place  among  the  fundamental  principles  of  every  government.  The  course 
of  reflection  in  which  we  are  immersed  here,  on  the  elementary  principles 
of  society,  has  presented  this  question  to  my  mind ;  and  that  no  such  obli- 
gation can  be  transmitted  I  think  very  capable  of  proof.  I  set  out  on  this 
ground,  which  I  suppose  to  be  self-evident,  that  the  earth  belongs  in  usu- 
fruct to  the  living. 

He  proceeds  to  show  to  his  own  satisfaction  that  the  sole 
basis  of  a  right  of  inheritance  is  "  the  law  of  the  society.^^  Then 
he  infers  that  ''what  is  true  of  every  member  of  the  society, 
individually,  is  true  of  them  all  collectively;  since  the  rights 
of  the  whole  can  be  no  more  than  the  sum  of  the  rights  of  the 
individuals."  He  argues  that  the  earth  belongs  to  each  gener- 
ation "during its  course,  fully  and  in  its  own  right.  The  sec- 
ond receives  it  clear  of  the  debts  and  incumbrances  of  the  first, 
the  third  of  the  second,  and  so  on."    "When  a  whole  genera- 


JEFFERSON  AND  SOCIAL   COMPACT  THEORY — FISHER.      175 

tion — that  is,  the  whole  society — dies  *  *  *  and  another 
generation  or  society  succeeds,  this  forms  a  whole,  and  there  is 
no  superior  who  can  give  their  territory  to  a  third  society,  who 
may  have  lent  money  to  their  predecessors  beyond  their  fac- 
ulty of  paying."  In  this  way  the  attempt  is  made  to  demon- 
strate that  a  debt  contracted  by  one  generation,  or  by  a  gov- 
ernment at  a  particular  time,  is  not  binding  on  any  generation 
after.  He  limits  the  duration  of  the  contracting  party  to  thirty- 
four  years.  "Every  constitution,  then,  and  every  law  natu- 
rally expires  at  the  end  of  thirty-four  years."  This  is  not  a 
merely  tentative  speculation.  "  Examination,"  we  are  told, 
"will  prove  it  to  be  solid  and  salutary."*  In  a  subsequent 
letter  Jefferson  revises  his  numerical  calculation.  He  has 
come  to  see  that  the  half  of  a  contracting  society  disappears  in 
nineteen  years.  "Then  the  contracts,  constitutions,  and  laws 
of  every  such  society  become  void  in  nineteen  years  from  their 
date."t  The  period  here  allowed  for  the  rightful  existence  of 
the  constitution  and  laws  of  a  political  community  is,  as  one  has 
said,  shorter  than  the  lifetime  of  a  horse.  That  these  were  not 
temporary  fleeting  opinions  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  twenty- 
four  years  later,  in  1813,  and  again,  only  two  years  before  his 
death,  under  date  of  June  5,  1824,  Jefferson  advances  these 
same  propositions  in  almost  identical  language.  This  shows 
that  he  had  not  been  convinced  by  Madison's  pretty  obvious 
objections  to  this  superficial  theorizing.  If  the  earth  belongs 
to  the  living,  what  shall  be  said  of  the  improvements  made  by 
those  before  us,  and  the  services  rendered,  and  the  debts 
incurred,  for  our  sake? 

Unless  temporary  laws  were  kept  in  force  by  additional  acts 
prior  to  their  expiration,  "  all  the  rights  depending  on  positive 
laws,  that  is,  most  of  the  rights  of  property,  would  become 
defunct."  Madison  falls  back  on  the  idea  of  a  tacit  consent 
given  to  existing  laws  through  the  very  fact  of  their  nonrevo- 
cation.  He  goes  further  and  raises  the  question  on  what  prin- 
ciple it  is  that  the  voice  of  the  majority  binds  the  minority. 
This,  he  answers,  is  not  a  law  of  nature,  but  is  the  result  of 
a  compact,  and  a  compact  in  the  making  of  which  there  was 
unanimity.  "Eigid  theory"  must  presuppose  such  a  una- 
nimity. Unless  there  be  this  tacit  agreement,  no  person  on 
attaining  to  mature  age  is  bound  by  the  acts  of  the  majority. 


*  Jefferson's  Writings  (1853),  Vol.  iii,  p.  102,  et  seq. 
t  Ibid,  p.  109. 


176  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

The  good  sense  of  Madison  enables  him  to  riddle  the  doctrine 
of  his  correspondent,  but  Madison  struggles  in  the  meshes  of 
the  social  compact  theory,  and  can  think  of  no  escape  from  its 
practical  absurdities  except  through  assumptions  not  less  arbi- 
trary and  artificial  than  the  hypotheses  which  they  are 
invented  to  bolster  up. 

The  social  compact  theory,  considered  as  an  historical  expla- 
nation of  the  origin  of  states,  is,  of  course,  true  only  to  a 
very  limited  extent.  Political  communities,  as  a  rule,  have  had 
other  origins.  It  is  at  best  a  legal  fiction,  convenient  as  other 
legal  fictions  may  be,  as  a  mode  of  stating  the  reciprocal  char- 
acter of  the  rights  and  obligations  which  pertain  to  rulers  and 
the  ruled.  When  taken  for  a  political  dogma,  as  a  test  of 
the  validity  of  existing  systems  of  polity,  it  is  a  mischievous 
error.  When  we  interpret  it,  with  Burke,  as  a  mode  of  saying 
that  every  rational  will  is  presupposed  to  coincide  with  the 
right  order  of  things  j  or,  with  Blackstone,  as  a  way  of  assert- 
ing that  reciprocal  duties  are  laid  upon  rulers  and  the  gov- 
erned, it  conveys  a  truth.  A\^hen  we  take  another  step,  and 
affirm  that  no  government  which  was  not  established  by  gen- 
eral or  unanimous  consent  can  claim  allegiance,  and  further 
maintain  that  the  assent  of  every  generation,  nay,  of  every 
individual,  is  the  condition  of  his  obligation  to  obedience,  we 
introduce  a  political  heresy,  the  influence  of  which  is  very 
likely  to  be  disastrous.  The  true  view  to  take  is,  that  the 
existing  form  of  the  state,  regarded  as  a  fact,  may  or  may  not  be 
due  to  an  express  agreement  at  some  former  epoch.  But  the 
obligation  of  the  individual  to  obedience  does  not  depend  on 
his  having  had  a  share  in  forming  the  state,  or  on  his  having  a 
share  at  present  in  the  management  of  it.  This,  be  it  observed, 
is  not  to  approve  of  the  denial  of  political  power  to  those  who  are 
capable  of  exercising  it.  It  is  easy  to  suppose  cases  where  the 
withholding  of  all  share  in  the  government  from  those  who  can 
be  safely  trusted  with  political  power  is  both  arbitrary  and  inex- 
pedient. What  form  of  government  is  best  can  only  be  decided 
by  reference  to  the  character  and  history  of  the  particular  nation. 
We  are  speaking  now  only  of  what  the  individual  may  demand, 
as  a  condition  of  his  obeying  the  "  the  powers  that  be."  For  one 
born  under  a  particular  system,  it  is  only  necessary  to  know 
that  the  established  system  secures  the  great  ends  of  govern- 
ment, and  lays  upon  him  no  command  inconsistent  with  his 
duty  to  God.    Yet  in  supposable  cases,  even  the  withholding 


JEFFERSON  AND  SOCIAL  COMPACT   THEORY — FISHER.      177 

of  political  power  may  be  so  flagrant  an  evil  as  to  warrant 
resistance.  We  require  some  guaranty  that  natural  rights 
shall  not  be  violated.  Such  a  guaranty  may  be  aflbrded  by  the 
actual  possession  of  a  share  of  political  power,  especially  when 
the  individual  is  one  of  a  class — the  wealthy  class  for  exam- 
ple—  who  are  thus  enabled,  by  uniting  their  political  strength, 
peacefully  to  counteract  threatened  inj ustice.  But  when  polit  - 
ical  rights  are  demanded  as  a  guaranty  for  the  secure  posses- 
sion of  natural  rights,  the  claim  is  equivalent  simply  to  a 
demand  for  a  government  that  shall  defend  the  latter.  Polit- 
ical rights  are  thus  claimed  only  as  a  means  to  an  end.  The 
two  categories  of  rights  are  properly  distinguished. 
S.  Mis.  104 12 


XVI -THE  RELATION  OF  HISTORY  TO  POLITICS. 


By  PROFESSOR  JESSE  MACY, 

OF  IOWA  COLLEGE , 


179 


THE  RELATION  OF  HISTORY  TO  POLITICS. 


By  Jesse  Macy. 


Dr.  Freeman^s  oft-quoted  declaration  that  history  is  past 
politics  and  politics  is  present  history  calls  our  attention  to  an 
assumed  identity  of  history  and  politics.  Takesi  in  a  certain 
sense  all  will  agree  that  a  large  part  of  the  history  of  the  past 
is  a  description  of  what  we  call  the  politics  of  the  past;  and  a 
large  part  of  to-day's  history  is  included  in  to-day's  politics. 

Over  against  these  accepted  truisms  we  observe  that  there 
is  a  widespread  impression  of  a  conflict  between  history  and 
politics;  that  politics  is  a  perverter  of  history;  that  he  who 
would  know  true  history  must  rid  himself  of  the  trammels  of 
politics;  that  it  is  impossible  to  have  a  true  history  of  the 
present  on  account  of  the  prejudices  engendered  by  politics. 
It  is  commonly  assumed  that  in  order  to  attain  the  true  his- 
toric spirit  the  writer  must  be  removed  in  time  and  space  from 
the  field  of  active  politics. 

Politics  has  to  do  chiefly  with  conflicting  rights  and  inter- 
ests. It  is  customary  for  the  parties  to  a  political  contention 
to  appeal  to  the  experiences  of  the  past  in  support  of  their  con- 
tention. Each  party  appeals  to  history,  but  he  does  it  not  in 
what  would  usually  be  accepted  as  the  true  historic  spirit.  He 
garbles  the  facts  of  the  past  in  the  interest  of  his  special  con- 
tention. That  contention  about  the  nature  of  the  United 
States  Constitution  which  involved  the  question  of  the  right  of 
a  State  to  peacefully  withdraw  from  the  Union  was  debated 
chiefly  as  an  historical  question.  Many  facts,  incidents,  and 
statements  were  adduced  to  make  good  the  claim  that  the 
makers  of  the  Constitution  intended  to  leave  the  States  in  the 
fall  possession  of  this  right.  Other  facts,  incidents  and  say- 
ings were  adduced  to  prove  that  the  makers  of  the  Constitu- 
tion intended  to  create  a  National  Government  having  fall 
powers  to  maintain  its  integrity.  As  a  mere  debate,  the  bal- 
ance of  the  argaments  from  history  was  remarkably  even.  A 
careful  garbling  of  all  the  history  bearing  upon  the  question 

181 


182  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

left  the  dispute  unsettled  j  as  much  proof  could  be  found  for 
one  side  as  for  the  other.  Alongside  of  the  historical  argu 
ment  for  and  against  the  right  of  a  State  to  peaceably  with, 
draw  from  the  Union  there  were  always  in  the  minds  of  the 
disputants  arguments  drawn  from  the  sense  of  what  ought  to 
be.  It  was  not  simply  a  question  of  what  sort  of  constitution 
the  statesmen  of  the  Eevolution  did  make.  This  question  came 
to  be  merged  into  the  more  pressing  question,  What  sort  of 
constitution,  in  this  regard,  ought  we  to  have?  This  last  ques- 
tion came  to  be  the  dominant  one.  And  it  may  now  be  con- 
sidered as  settled  that  the  American  Constitution  does  not 
permit  a  State  to  withdraw  from  the  Union  except  by  an  act 
of  successful  revolution.  Now  the  mere  fact  that  this  question 
is  settled  in  this  way  will  give  added  force  to  the  one  sided 
historical  arguments  which  were  always  adduced  in  support  of 
this  particular  theory.  That  which  was  for  the  time  being 
merely  garbled  history  in  support  of  a  partisan  view  is  likely 
now  to  be  accepted  as  the  true  history. 

This  principle  is  illustrated  in  all  history.  Statesmen  and 
citizens  are  divided  into  parties.  They  have,  or  think  they 
have,  conflicting  interests.  They  have  conflicting  ideas  as  to 
what  is  right  or  just.  Each  party  appeals  to  the  experiences 
of  the  past  in  support  of  its  partisan  view.  In  this  appeal  to 
the  past  the  facts  of  the  past  are  always  distorted.  It  is  not 
a  calm  and  scientific  survey  of  the  experiences  of  the  past,  but 
certain  facts  only  from  the  past  are  selected  and  taken  out  of 
their  true  setting  and  marshaled  in  such  a  manner  as  to  give 
support  to  a  particular  partisan  view.  Finally,  in  the  course 
of  political  development  one  of  the  partisan  views  is  adopted 
by  the  state.  Immediately  there  ensues  a  strong  tendency  on 
the  part  of  all  classes  to  accept  the  partisan  view  of  history 
which  had  been  presented  in  argument  as  correct  history. 
Those  who  are  beaten  in  the  historical  argument,  when  once 
the  question  at  issue  is  settled,  are  disposed  to  accept  as  true 
the  partisan  view  of  history  which  is  most  in  harmony  with 
the  action  of  the  state. 

There  is  now  in  England  a  controversy  between  the  Estab- 
lished Church  and  the  Nonconformists  on  the  question  of  the 
disestablishment  and  the  disendowment  of  the  church.  Each 
party  rests  its  case  largely  upon  certain  facts  in  past  history. 
Yet  no  historian  would  claim  that  in  the  arguments  for  and 
against  disestablishment  a  fair  statement  of  these  facts  is  pre- 


THE  RELATION  OF  HISTORY  TO  POLITICS — MACY.     183 

sented.  In  the  present  state  of  morality  it  is  too  mucli  to 
expect  tliat  men  will  maintain  a  scientific  or  a  Christian  atti- 
tude of  mind  in  dealing  with  rather  obscure  facts  of  history 
when  a  possible  conclusion  of  the  investigation  is  likely  to 
deprive  them  of  a  living.  Under  such  circumstances  history 
is  much  distorted.  But  the  time  will  come  when  this  question 
will  be  settled.  It  is  likely  also  to  be  settled  in  a  thoroughly 
partisan  way.  The  bodies  of  some  of  the  partisans  who  at  the 
time  were  most  blamed  for  the  measure  will  be  entombed  in 
Westminster  Abbey.  Those  who  have  been  beaten  in  the 
contest  will  then  join  with  those  who  have  triumphed  in  doing 
honor  to  the  successful  statesmen.  After  having  incurred  the 
injury  which  ensues  upon  a  political  action,  and  having  for- 
given the  perpetrators,  it  is  a  slight  thing  to  accept  as  true 
historical  arguments  which  seem  most  in  harmony  with  the 
policy  adopted. 

There  would  thus  seem  to  be  a  natural  and  a  perpetual  con- 
flict between  politics  and  history.  That  is,  politics  seems  to 
tend  constantly  to  pervert  the  truth  of  history.  But  whether 
this  conflict  is  real  or  apparent  depends  in  part  upon  the 
definition  of  history  and  the  definition  of  the  historic  spirit. 

History  is  usually  conceived  as  a  true  presentation  of  the 
past  experiences  of  mankind.  The  true  historic  spirit  is  that 
disposition  of  mind  which  keeps  the  faculties  at  their  best  in 
seeing  all  that  is  true  in  the  past  and  in  fully  and  accurately 
reporting  all  that  is  seen. 

When  the  expert  naturalist  describes  a  species  of  animals  his 
testimony  is  accepted  by  the  scientific  world.  The  modern 
scientific  spirit  has  freed  the  scientist  from  prejudice.  In  the 
observing  and  reporting  of  material  phenomena  almost  no 
motive  exists  for  deception  or  lying.  The  animal  does  not  tes- 
tify of  himself.  Biology  is  wholly  a  science  of  observation. 
But  when  we  come  to  deal  with  a  human  being  the  case  is  alto- 
gether different.  The  thing  of  chief  interest  about  man  is  what 
he  thinks  and  says  of  himself.  If  man  is  studied  after  the 
analogy  of  natural  history  his  distinctive  characteristics  are 
omitted. 

Some  of  our  historians  who  have  tried  to  present  to  our  view 
the  early  Germanic  institutions  find,  or  think  they  find,  groups 
of  families  and  kinsfolk  united  into  a  sort  of  free  township.  It 
is  believed  that  these  freemen  in  the  township  were  accustomed 
to  meet  and  attend  to  matters  of  common  interest.    The  first 


184  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

that  we  know  about  a  society  of  human  beings  is  that  the 
members  of  the  society  are  in  trouble  of  some  sort  and  are  try- 
ing to  devise  ways  and  means  of  extricating  themselves  from 
their  diflaculties.  We  are  told  that  in  settling  specific  disputes 
in  the  primordial  society  the  old  men  were  called  upon  to 
declare  what  was  the  ancient  custom,  in  order  that  the  custom 
might  be  followed  in  settling  the  dispute.  In  such  a  case  sev- 
eral interesting  questions  arise  which  the  historian  can  not 
afford  to  neglect :  (1)  Would  an  old  man  at  such  a  time  follow 
the  example  of  some  modern  Christian  statesman  and  deliber- 
ately lie  about  the  ancient  custom  in  order  to  serve  the  party 
of  his  choice?  (2)  Would  he  allow  partisan  bias  growing  out 
of  the  dispute  to  cause  him  to  receive  into  his  consciousness 
only  a  partial  view  of  the  ancient  custom?  (3)  Would  he  ful- 
fill the  yet  unattained  ideal  of  the  Christian  and  the  scientist 
and  place  his  mind  at  its  best  in  its  contact  with  all  past 
experiences,  and  would  he  report  fully  and  impartially  all  that 
he  remembered  ?  If  history  is  past  politics  we  may  reasonably 
conclude  that  some  of  the  old  men  in  reporting  past  customs 
would  consciously  make  false  reports  j  others  would  allow  par- 
tisan prejudice  to  increase  the  defects  of  memory.  liTone  of 
them  would  be  wholly  scientific  or  wholly  Christian.  It  is 
probable  that  no  people  ever  made  record  of  a  custom  except 
the  custom  had  to  do  with  the  settlement  of  their  diflficulties. 
In  partisan  contests  and  in  the  adapting  of  old  customs  to  new 
conditions  there  have  always  existed  motives  for  misrepresent- 
ing the  past.  There  have  thus  come  to  be  two  parts  to  his- 
tory: (1)  That  which  is  objectively  true  j  (2)  That  which  is 
not  true  yet  is  believed  and  followed.  Erroneous  beliefs  have 
had  a  large  share  in  the  making  of  history.  If  the  old  man  in 
the  ancient  township  persuaded  the  citizens  that  the  former 
custom  was  other  than  it  was  in  fact,  so  that  they  acted  in 
accordance  with  his  erroneous  view,  it  was  their  error  which 
was  wrought  into  the  institutions.  The  important  thing  about 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  is  not  so  much  what  the 
fathers  did  a  century  ago  as  what  is  believed  and  acted  upon 
today.  Magna  Charta  would  be  simply  a  bit  of  curious  antiq- 
uity were  it  not  for  erroneous  beliefs  which  have  been  associ- 
ated with  it.  In  the  days  of  King  John  it  had  not  entered  into 
the  heart  of  living  man  to  conceive  of  the  things  that  were  to 
be  believed  of  Magna  Charta.  To  the  citizen  of  the  nineteenth 
century  the  charter  stands  for  liberty.    In  the  days  of  John 


THE  RELATION  OF  HISTORY  TO  POLITICS — MACY.     185 

and  for  centuries  later  the  word  liberty  usually  meant  the 
privilege  of  a  class.  Gardiner  quotes  a  passage  in  which  a 
town  is  shown  to  be  greatly  attached  to  its  ancient  liberty  of 
putting  people  into  stocks.  The  privileges  of  a  class  become 
the  liberty  of  all  only  when  class  interests  are  seen  to  be 
merged  into  the  common  interest  j  and  in  this  change  the  word 
liberty  gains  a  new  meaning. 

What,  then,  must  the  historian  do?  He  must  not  surrender 
his  ideal  j  he  must  still  strive  to  represent  all  past  experiences 
of  mankind.  But  to  do  this  he  must  take  large  account  of  the 
part  played  by  erroneous  beliefs.  Some  erroneous  beliefs  are 
not  far  removed  from  that  which  is  highest  and  most  charac- 
teristic of  man.  When  an  old  man  talks  of  his  childhood  it  is 
not  of  the  actual  childhood  which  he  experienced  j  it  is  an 
idealized,  glorified  childhood,  enriched  by  long  years  of  reflec- 
tion and  observation.  There  is  in  man  the  consciousness  of  an 
unattained  destiny.  He  feels  himself  to  be  a  victim,  but  he  is 
never  an  altogether  hopeless  victim.  There  is  always  present 
some  ideal  of  the  yet  unattained.  Patrick  Henry  was  mistaken 
when  he  said,  "  I  have  but  one  lamp  by  which  my  feet  are 
guided,  and  that  is  the  lamp  of  experience."  That  which  is 
hoped  for  and  has  not  been  experienced  has  ever  served  as  a 
lamp  to  guide  the  feet  of  men.  The  unattained  has  always 
formed  a  part  of  partisan  politics.  The  perverting  of  history 
for  the  sake  of  a  partisan  advantage  is  in  part  due  to  an  eftbrt 
to  actualize  an  ideal  by  reading  it  into  past  history. 

It  is  this  fact  which  has  given  rise  to  the  saying  that  poets 
and  novelists  are  our  best  historians.  I  have  not  a  particle  of 
sympathy  with  this  saying.  Poetry  and  fiction  are  great  aids 
to  the  historian,  provided  he  knows  how  to  use  them.  But  if 
they  are  viewed  as  substitutes  for  history  then  they  become 
his  most  subtle  enemies.  The  historian  must  ever  strive  for 
the  actual.  However  hopeless  may  seem  to  be  the  task,  the 
historian  must  strive  to  distinguish  between  what  has  been 
believed  about  the  past  and  what  is  true  of  the  past.  To  ena- 
ble him  to  do  this  he  should  acquaint  himself  with  actual  poli- 
tics, present  and  past.  He  should  know  how  current  political 
life  is  related  to  past  events.  He  should  know  how  current 
political  life  is  affected  by  a  striving  after  an  unattained  ideal. 
No  other  original  source  of  history  can  be  compared  in  impor- 
tance with  present  politics. 

The  first  territorial  legislature  in  Iowa  passed  an  elaborate 


186  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

statute  providing  for  a  system  of  free  schools.  Yet  a  free 
school  system  did  not  exist  in  the  State  till  twenty  years  later. 
The  men  who  made  the  first  law  have  informed  me  that  they 
knew  at  the  time  that  there  were  to  be  no  free  schools,  but  that 
they  intended  th  e  law  to  serve  as  an  advertising  agency  in  the 
East.  By  this  means  they  intended  to  induce  people  who 
believed  in  free  schools  to  come  to  the  Territory.  They  hoped 
that  the  time  might  come  when  free  schools  would  exist.  What 
student  of  original  sources  of  history  would  interpret  aright 
this  statute  if  he  had  no  source  of  information  but  the  statute 
itself  ?  We  learn  from  actual  politics  that  a  positive  statute 
sometimes  expresses  an  ideal,  a  hope,  or  an  aspiration;  some- 
times it  is  an  advertising  agency.  Some  laws  do  not  express 
anything  intelligible  even  to  the  wisest  of  those  who  make  them. 
Some  laws  may  be  accounted  for  only  by  the  fact  that  restless 
men  are  confined  to  a  room  several  hours  in  a  day  for  certain 
months  in  a  year  with  nothing  to  do  but  to  make  laws.  Suppose 
now  a  student  who,  ignorant  of  actual  politics,  should  under- 
take to  construct  a  history  out  of  the  bare  statutes  of  a  nation. 
A  knowledge  of  politics  is  essential  to  the  correct  reading  and 
the  correct  writing  of  history.  The  per  feet  historian  will  be  in 
politics,  but  he  will  not  be  of  that  part  of  politics  which  toler- 
ates the  perverting  of  the  facts  of  history. 

There  has  been  in  the  world  for  thousands  of  years  an  ideal 
of  a  society  all  of  whose  members  are  lovers  of  the  truth.  From 
this  society  all  who  love  or  make  a  lie  are  excluded.  Accord- 
ing to  this  ancient  Christian  ideal  it  is  the  duty  of  man  to  have 
his  mind  ever  ready  to  believe  all  truth.  The  actual  Christian 
of  history  has  not  fulfilled  this  ideal.  He  has  been  subject  to 
prejudices  as  have  other  men.  The  Christian  has  found  it  to 
be  comparatively  easy  to  preserve  a  truth-loving  and  a  truth- 
telling  spirit  while  dealing  with  some  of  his  own  states  of  mind; 
but  to  preserve  the  same  spirit  while  dealing  with  the  present 
evil  world  has  been  too  much  for  him.  To  preserve  his  integrity 
he  has  been  inclined  to  withdraw  from  the  evil  world  and  to 
occupy  himself  in  the  contemplation  of  an  unseen  world.  The 
stress  of  politics  has  induced  the  Christian  to  obscure  and 
practically  to  obliterate  his  ideal  by  dividing  truth  into  depart- 
ments which  he  calls  higher  and  lower,  essential  and  non- 
essential. When  a  lower  truth  seems  to  be  in  conflict  with  a 
so-called  higher  truth,  the  lower  truth  does  not  receive  fair 
treatment.  As  an  incident  to  the  rapid  advancement  of  physical 


THE  RELATION  OF  HISTORY  TO  POLITICS — MACY.     187 

science  this  ancient  Christian  ideal  has  been  restated  and  has 
received  a  new  name.  The  men  who  are  devoting  their  lives 
to  the  advancement  of  science  are  dependent  at  every  stage 
upon  the  testimony  of  others.  One  observer  can  see  only  a 
small  part  of  the  phenomena  which  he  is  obliged  to  treat.  The 
select  world  of  scientists  has  ruthlessly  cast  from  their  midst  all 
scientific  blunderers,  deceivers,  and  liars.  They  will  have  only 
those  who  have  the  scientific  spirit.  By  this  they  mean  those 
who  at  all  times  maintain  a  truth-loving  and  truth- telling  habit 
in  the  observing  and  the  reporting  of  phenomena.  The  scientist 
would  usually  assent  to  the  theory  that  what  he  calls  the  scien- 
tific spirit  is  applicable  to  every  sort  of  knowledge.  Stated  in 
this  form  it  is  identical  with  the  ancient  Christian  ideal.  But 
the  scientist^  like  the  Christian,  has  not  been  able  to  realize 
his  ideal  outside  of  a  limited  field  where  the  motive  for  lying 
is  almost  wholly  lacking.  The  scientist  wrecks  his  high  ideal 
the  instant  he  enters  politics  and  history,  where  beliefs  and  not 
external  phenomena  are  the  dominant  factors.  Here  fialsehood 
and  deception  seem  to  be  great  social  forces,  and  they  appear 
to  be  susceptible  to  a  beneficent  use.  If  the  scientist  follows 
appearances  in  politics  as  he  does  in  physics,  he  becomes 
naturally  a  Machiavellian,  and  recognizes  lying  as  a  great 
political  force.  The  stress  of  politics  causes  the  scientist,  like  the 
Christian,  to  divide  knowledge  into  departments.  In  the  study 
of  matter  he  maintains  a  truth-loving  and  a  truth-telling  spirit. 
But  in  the  study  of  the  relations  of  man  to  man  in  society, 
deception  and  lying  are  admitted  as  a  working  hypothesis 
though  the  scientist  is  careful  to  say  that  this  sort  of  knowl- 
edge is  not  scientific,  and  that  the  pursuit  of  it  lacks  something 
of  the  scientific  spirit. 

It  will  be  observed  that  the  scientist  is  strong  where  the 
Christian  is  weak,  and  that  the  Christian  is  strong  where 
the  scientist  is  weak.  The  one  in  dealing  with  external  phe- 
nomena j  the  other  in  dealing  with  beliefs,  with  self-knowledge, 
with  unattained  ideals. 

The  historian,  for  his  own  ends,  must  do  what  neither  scien- 
tist nor  Christian  has  yet  been  able  to  do  j  that  is,  he  must 
maintain  a  truth-loving  and  a  truth-telling  spirit  in  the  field  of 
active  politics.  It  is  the  high  mission  of  the  historian  to  mark 
out  a  way  in  which  all  lovers  of  truth  may  unite  in  removing 
the  lie  from  politics.  With  this  achievement  the  apparent 
conflict  between  history  and  politics  would  cease.    Without 


188  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

this  achievement  history  can  not  be  wholly  trustworthy,  or 
wholly  trustworthy  history  will  not  be  believed.  Without  this 
achievement  there  can  be  no  political  science  worthy  of  the 
name.  Without  this  achievement  man  will  continue  to  be  a 
victim  of  force,  and  will  gain  political  wisdom  chiefly  through 
suffering. 


XVIL-EARLY  LEAD-MINING  IN  ILLINOIS  AND  WISCONSIN. 


By  REUBEN  GOLD  THWAITES, 
OF  MADISON,  WISCONSIN. 


EARLY  LEAD-MINING  IN  ILLINOIS  AND  WISCONSIN. 


By  Reuben  Gold  Thwaitbs. 


No  evidence  exists,  nor  is  it  probable,  that  the  aboriginal 
inhabitants  of  the  Upper  Mississippi  Yalley  made  any  consider- 
able use  of  lead  previous  to  the  appearance  among  them  of 
French  explorers,  missionaries,  and  fur-traders.  The  French 
were  continually  on  the  search  for  beds  of  mineral,  and  closely 
questioned  the  Indians  regarding  their  probable  whereabouts. 
The  savages  appear  to  have  soon  made  known  to  the  whites 
the  deposits  of  lead  in  the  "Fever  Eiver  tract,"  which  now 
embraces  the  counties  of  Grant,  Iowa,  and  Lafayette,  in  Wis- 
consin; Jo  Daviess  and  Carroll  counties,  in  Illinois;  Dubuque 
County,  in  Iowa ;  and  portions  of  eastern  Missouri.  This  is  one 
of  the  richest  lead-bearing  regions  in  the  world,  and  when 
once  brought  to  the  notice  of  the  pioneers  of  Kew  France  its 
fame  became  widespread.  The  French  introduced  firearms 
among  the  ^N'orthwestern  Indians,  inducing  them  to  hunt  fur- 
bearing  animals  on  a  large  scale,  and  lead  immediately  assumed 
a  value  in  the  eyes  of  the  latter,  both  for  use  as  bullets  in  their 
own  weapons  and  as  an  article  of  traffic  with  the  traders. 

It  is  probable  that  the  Wisconsin  and  Illinois  Indians  were 
first  visited  by  Nicolet,  in  1634.  We  know  the  story  of  the 
fright  he  occasioned  among  the  savages  at  Green  Bay  by  his 
discharge  of  pistols,  and  how  they  were  disposed  to  worship 
him  as  a  manitou,  carrying  thunder  and  lightning  in  his  hands. 
No  doubt  he  made  the  Wisconsin  aborigines  quite  familiar  with 
the  use  of  gunpowder  before  his  return  homeward.  Those 
adventurous  traders,  Eadisson  and  Groseilliers,  were  in  the 
Northwest  in  1658-59,  and  appear  to  have  heard  of  the  lead 
mines  in  the  neighborhood  of  Dubuque. 

The  journals  of  Marquette  (1673)  and  La  Hontan  (1689)  speak 
of  the  mineral  wealth  of  the  Upper  Mississippi  country;  but 
they  appear  never  to  have  seen  the  mines  themselves,  and 

*Aii  abstract  of  a  more  detailed  study  of  the  topic,  as  yet  unpublished. 

191 


192  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

misunderstanding  their  informants,  concluded  that  the  deposits 
were  of  gold,  silver,  and  copper.  Hennepin's  map  of  1687  has 
a  lead  mine  located  in  the  neighborhood  of  where  Galena  now 
is,  showing  that  he  had  very  close  information  regarding  it  5 
and  Joutel,  who  was  in  the  country  the  same  year,  speaks  spe- 
cifically of  the  good  lead  mines  *^at  the  upper  part  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi." 

Indeed,  by  this  time  the  Wisconsin  and  Illinois  Indians  must 
have  had  a  considerable  traffic  in  the  ore  with  wandering 
traders  and  couriers  des  bois,  of  whose  presence  in  the  region 
we  catch  faint  glimpses  in  the  earliest  records  of  exploration. 
Ko  doubt  many  roving  Frenchmen  were  in  the  country  soon 
after  Eadisson  and  Groseilliers,  although  few  of  them  have 
left  any  traces  of  their  presence  in  the  literature  of  the  period. 

Nicholas  Perrot,  the  commandant  of  the  French  in  the  North- 
west, visited  the  mines  in  1690,  building  a  log  trading  post  on 
the  east  side  of  the  river,  opposite  Dubuque,  and  spent  some 
time  in  smelting  ore. 

Nine  years  later  Le  Seuer,  a  merchant  adventurer,  who  had 
had  much  previous  experience  in  the  Wisconsin  forests,  came 
over  with  D'Iberville's  second  expedition  to  Louisiana,  and 
with  twenty  miners  ascended  the  Mississippi  intent  on  explor- 
ing the  mines  on  behalf  of  the  French  king.  He  worked  some 
ore  in  the  now  deserted  Perrot  mine,  and  also  at  the  lead  after- 
wards known  as  "  Snake  diggings,"  near  Potosi,  Wis.,  but 
returned  to  France  without  developing  the  industry. 

In  1712,  Louis  XIY.  granted  to  Sieur  Anthony  Orozat  a 
monopoly  of  trading  and  mining  privileges  in  Louisiana — which 
then  included  the  entire  Mississippi  valley — for  a  term  of  fifteen 
years.  But  Crozat  does  not  appear  to  have  touched  the  lead 
mines,  though  doubtless  the  English  traders  who  freely  poached 
on  the  French  domain,  and  the  wandering  couriers  des  hois,  had 
more  or  less  traffic  with  Indians  for  ore,  both  to  meet  present 
necessities  and  home  demand.  In  1715  La  Mothe  Cadillac, 
governor  of  Louisiana  and  founder  of  Detroit,  went  up  to  the 
Illinois  country  in  search  of  reputed  sUver  mines,  but  carried 
back  only  lead  ore. 

Crozat's  monopoly  was  resigned  to  John  Law's  Company  of 
the  West  in  1719,  but  the  lead  region  appears  to  have  been 
uninfluenced  by  the  brief  "  boom"  which  was  inaugurated  by 
that  ill-timed  enterprise.  We  find  references  in  the  records  of 
New  France  to  spasmodic  lead  mining  in  1719  and  1722,  and 


XVIII.-THE  SIGNIFICANCE  OF  THE  FRONTIER  IN  AMERICAN 

HISTORY. 


By  PROFESSOR  FREDERICK  J.  TURNER, 
OF  THE  UNIVERSITY  OF  WISCONSIN. 


197 


THE  SIGNIFICANCE  OF  THE  FRONTIER  IN  AMERICAN  HISTORY. 


By  Frederick  J.  Turner. 


In  a  recent  bulletin  of  the  Superintendent  of  the  Census  for 
1890  appear  these  significant  words :  "  Up  to  and  including 
1880  the  country  had  a  frontier  of  settlement,  but  at  present 
the  unsettled  area  has  been  so  broken  into  by  isolated  bodies 
of  settlement  that  there  can  hardly  be  said  to  be  a  frontier 
line.  In  the  discussion  of  its  extent,  its  westward  movement, 
etc.,  it  can  not,  therefore,  any  longer  have  a  place  in  the  cen- 
sus reports."  This  brief  official  statement  marks  the  closing 
of  a  great  historic  movement.  Up  to  our  own  day  American 
history  has  been  in  a  large  degree  the  history  of  the  coloniza- 
tion of  the  Great  West.  The  existence  of  an  area  of  free  land, 
its  continuous  recession,  and  the  advance  of  American  settle- 
ment westward,  explain  American  development. 

Behind  institutions,  behind  constitutional  forms  and  modi- 
fications, lie  the  .vital, forces  that  call  these  organs  into  life 
and  shape  them  to  meet  changing  conditions.  The  peculi- 
arity of  American  institutions  is,  the  fact  that  they  have  been 
compelled  to  adapt  themselves  to  the  changes  of  an  expand- 
ing people — to  the  changes  involved  in  crossing  a  continent, 
in  winning  a  wilderness,  and  in  developing  at  each  area  of 
this  progress  out  of  the  primitive  economic  and  political  con- 
ditions of  the  frontier  into  the  complexity  of  city  life.  Said 
Calhoun  in  1817,  "We  are  great,  and  rapidly — I  was  about  to 
say  fearfully — growing !"  t  So  saying,  he  touched  the  distin- 
guishing feature  of  American  life.  All  peoples  show  develop- 
ment; the  germ  theory  of  politics  has  been  sufficiently  empha- 
sized.   In  the  case  of  most  nations,  however,  the  development 

*  Since  the  meeting  of  the  American  Historical  Association,  this  paper 
has  also  been  given  as  an  address  to  the  State  Historical  Society  of  Wis- 
consin, December  14,  1893.  I  have  to  thank  the  Secretary  of  the  Society, 
Mr.  Reuben  G.  Thwaites,  for  securing  valuable  material  for  my  use  in  the 
preparation  of  the  paper. 

tAbridgment  of  Debates  of  Congress,  v.,  p.  706. 

199 


200  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL    ASSOCIATION. 

has  occurred  in  a  limited  area  5  and  if  the  nation  has  expanded, 
it  has  met  other  growing  peoples  whom  it  has  conquered.  But 
in  the  (?ase  of  the  United  States  we  have  a  different  phenom- 
enon. Limiting  our  attention  to  the  Atlantic  coast,  we  have 
the  famihar  phenomenon  of  the  evolution  of  institutions  in  a 
limited  area,  such  as  the  rise  of  representative  government; 
the  differentiation  of  simple  colonial  governments  into  com- 
plex organs;  the  progress  from  primitive  industrial  society, 
without  division  of  labor,  up  to  manufacturing  civilization. 
But  we  have  in  addition  to  this  a  recurrence  of  the  process 
of  evolution  in  each  western  area  reached  in  the  process  of 
expansion.  Thus  American  development  has  exhibited  not 
merely  advance  along  a  single  line,  but  a  return  to  primitive 
conditions  on  a  continually  advancing  frontier  line,  and  a  new 
development  for  that  area.  American  social  development  has 
been  continually  beginning  over  again  on  the  frontier.  This 
perennial  rebirth,  this  fluidity  of  American  life,  this  expansion 
westward  with  its  new  opportunities,  its  continuous  touch  with 
the  simplicity  of  primitive  society,  furnish  the  forces  dominat- 
ing American  character.  The  true  point  of  view  in  the  history 
of  this  nation  is  not  the  Atlantic  coast,  it  is  the  great  West. 
Even  the  slavery  struggle,  which  is  made  so  exclusive  an 
object  of  attention  by  writers  like  Prof,  von  Hoist,  occupies  its 
important  place  in  American  history  because  of  its  relation  to 
westward  expansion. 

In  this  advance,  the  frontier  is  the  outer  edge  of  the  wave — 
the  meeting  point  between  savagery  and  civilization.  Much  has 
been  written  about  the  frontier  from  the  point  of  view  of  bor- 
der warfare  and  the  chase,  but  as  a  field  for  the  serious  study 
of  the  economist  and  the  historian  it  has  been  neglected. 

The  American  frontier  is  sharply  distinguished  from  the 
European  frontier— a  fortified  boundary  line  running  through 
dense  populations.  The  most  significant  thing  about  the 
American  frontier  is,  that  it  lies  at  the  hither  edge  of  free  land. 
In  the  census  reports  it  is  treated  as  the  margin  of  that  settle- 
ment which  has  a  density  of  two  or  more  to  the  square  mile. 
The  term  is  an  elastic  one,  and  for  our  purposes  does  not  need 
sharp  definition.  We  shall  consider  the  whole  frontier  belt, 
including  the  Indian  country  and  the  outer  margin  of  the 
"  settled  area"  of  the  census  reports.  This  paper  will  make 
no  attempt  to  treat  the  subject  exhaustively;  its  aim  is  simply 
to  call  attention  to  the  frontier  as  a  fertile  field  for  investiga- 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.        201 

tion,  and  to  suggest  some  of  the  problems  which  arise  in  con- 
nection with  it. 

In  the  settlement  of  America  we  have  to  observe  how  Euro- 1 
l)ean  life  entered  the  continent,  and  how  America  modified 
and  developed  that  life  and  reacted  on  Europe.  Our  early- 
history  is  the  study  of  European  germs  developing  in  an 
American  environment.  Too  exclusive  attention  has  been 
paid  by  institutional  students  to  the  Germanic  origins,  too 
little  to  the  American  factors.  The  frontier  is  the  line  of  | 
most  rapid  and  effective  Americanization.  The  wilderness  ' 
masters  the  colonist.  It  finds  him  a  European  in  dress,  indus- 
tries, tools,  modes  of  travel,  and  thought.  It  takes  him  from 
the  railroad  car  and  puts  him  in  the  birch  canoe.  It  strips  off 
the  garments  of  civilization  and  arrays  him  in  the  hunting 
shirt  and  the  moccasin.  It  puts  him  in  the  log  cabin  of  the 
Cherokee  and  Iroquois  and  runs  an  Indian  palisade  around 
him.  Before  long  he  has  gone  to  planting  Indian  corn  and 
plowing  with  a  sharp  stick;  he  shouts  the  war  cry  and  takes 
the  scalp  in  orthodox  Indian  fashion.  In  short,  at  the  fron-  \ 
tier  the  environment  is  at  first  too  strong  for  the  man.  He 
must  accept  the  conditions  which  it  furnishes,  or  perish,  and 
so  he  fits  himself  into  the  Indian  clearings  and  follows  the 
Indian  trails.  Little  by  little  he  transforms  the  wilderness, 
but  the  outcome  is  not  the  old  Europe,  not  simply  the  devel- 
opment of  Germanic  germs,  any  more  than  the  first  phenom- 
enon was  a  case  of  reversion  to  the  Germanic  mark.  The  fact 
is,  that  here  is  a  new  product  that  is  American.  At  first,  the 
frontier  was  the  Atlantic  coast.  It  was  the  frontier  of  Europe 
in  a  very  real  sense.  Moving  westward,  the  frontier  became  } 
more  and  more  American.  As  successive  terminal  moraines 
result  from  successive  glaciations,  so  each  frontier  leaves  its 
traces  behind  it,  and  when  it  becomes  a  settled  area  the  region 
still  partakes  of  the  frontier  characteristics.  Thus  the  advance  > 
of  the  frontier  has  meant  a  steady  movement  away  from  the 
influence  of  Europe,  a  steady  growth  of  independence  on  \ 
American  lines.  And  to  study  this  advance,  the  men  who 
grew  up  under  these  conditions,  and  the  political,  economic, 
and  social  results  of  it,  is  to  study  the  really  American  part 
of  our  history. 


202  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

STAGES  OF  FRONTIER  ADVANCE. 

In  the  course  of  the  seventeenth  century  the  frontier  was 
advanced  up  the  Atlantic  river  courses,  just  beyond  the  "fall 
line, "  and  the  tidewater  region  became  the  settled  area.  In 
the  first  half  of  the  eighteenth  century  another  advance 
occurred.  Traders  followed  the  Delaware  and  Shawnese 
Indians  to  the  Ohio  as  early  as  the  end  of  the  first  quarter  of 
the  century.*  Gov.  Spots  wood,  of  Virginia,  made  an  expedi- 
tion in  1714  across  the  Blue  Eidge.  The  end  of  the  first  quarter 
of  the  century  saw  the  advance  of  the  Scotch-Irish  and  the 
Palatine  Germans  up  the  Shenandoah  Yalley  into  the  west- 
ern part  of  Yirginia,  and  along  the  Piedmont  region  of  the 
Carolinas.t  The  Germans  in  New  Tork  pushed  the  fron- 
tier of  settlement  up  the  Mohawk  to  German  Flats.f  In  Penn- 
sylvania the  town  of  Bedford  indicates  the  line  of  settlement. 
Settlements  had  begun  on  New  Biver,  a  branch  of  the  Kana- 
wha, and  on  the  sources  of  the  Yadkin  and  French  Broad.§ 
The  King  attempted  to  arrest  the  advance  by  his  proclamation 
of  1763,11  forbidding  settlements  beyond  the  sources  of  the 
rivers  flowing  into  the  Atlantic  J  but  in  vain.  In  the  period 
of  the  Ee volution  the  frontier  crossed  the  Alleghanies  into 
Kentucky  and  Tenneseee,  and  the  upper  waters  of  the  Ohio 
were  settled.^  When  the  first  census  was  taken  in  1790,  the 
continuous  settled  area  was  bounded  by  a  line  which  ran  near 
the  coast  of  Maine,  and  included  New  England  except  a  portion 
of  Yermont  and  New  Hampshire,  New  York  along  the  Hudson 
and  up  the  Mohawk  about  Schenectady,  eastern  and  southern 
Pennsylvania,  Yirginia  well  across  the  Shenandoah  Yalley, 

*  Bancroft  (I860  ed.),  Ill,  pp.  344,  345,  citing  Logan  MSS. ;  [Mitchell] 
Contest  in  America,  etc.  (1752),  p.  237. 

t  Kercheval,  History  of  the  Valley;  Bernheim,  German  Settlements  in 
the  Carolinas;  Winsor,  Narrative  and  Critical  History  of  America,  v,  p. 
304;  Colonial  Records  of  North  Carolina,  Iv,  p.  xx;  Weston,  Documents 
Connected  with  the  History  of  South  Carolina,  p.  82;  Ellis  and  Evans, 
History  of  Lancaster  County,  Pa.,  chs.  iii,  xxvi. 

tParkman,  Pontiac,  ii;  Griffis,  Sir  William  Johnson,  p.  6;  Simms's 
Frontiersmen  of  New  York. 

§  Monette,  Mississippi  Valley,  i,  p.  311. 

II  Wis.  Hist.  Cols.,  XI,  p.  50;  Hinsdale,  Old  Northwest,  p.  121;  Burke, 
*'  Oration  on  Conciliation,"  Works  (1872  ed.),  i,  p.  473. 

H  Roosevelt,  Winning  of  the  West,  and  citations  there  given;  Cutler's 
Life  of  Cutler. 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.        203 

and  tlie  Garolinas  and  eastern  Georgia.*  Beyond  this  region 
of  continuous  settlement  were  the  small  settled  areas  of  Ken- 
tucky and  Tennessee,  and  the  Ohio,  with  the  mountains  inter- 
vening between  them  and  the  Atlantic  area,  thus  giving  a  new 
and  important  character  to  the  frontier.  The  isolation  of  the 
region  increased  its  peculiarly  American  tendencies,  and  the 
need  of  transportation  facilities  to  connect  it  with  the  East 
called  out  important  schemes  of  internal  improvement,  which 
will  be  noted  farther  on.  The  "West,''  as  a  self-conscious 
section,  began  to  evolve. 

From  decade  to  decade  distinct  advances  of  the  frontier 
occurred.  By  the  census  of  1820 1  the  settled  area  included 
Ohio,  southern  Indiana  and  Illinois,  southeastern  Missouri,  and 
about  one-half  of  Louisiana.  This  settled  area  had  surrounded 
Indian  areas,  and  the  management  of  these  tribes  became  an 
object  of  political  concern.  The  frontier  region  of  the  time  lay 
along  the  Great  Lakes,  where  Astor's  American  Fur  Company 
operated  in  the  Indian  trade,f  and  beyond  the  Mississippi, 
where  Indian  traders  extended  their  activity  even  to  the 
Eocky  Mountains;  Florida  also  furnished  frontier  conditions. 
The  Mississippi  Eiver  region  was  the  scene  of  typical  frontier 
settlements.  § 


*  Scribner's  Statistical  Atlas,  xxxviii,  pi.  13 ;  MacMaster,  Hist,  of  Peo- 
ple of  U.  S.,  I,  pp.  4,  60,  61;  Imlay  and  Filson,  Western  Territory  of 
America  (London,  1793) ;  Rochefoucault-Liancourt,  Travels  Through  the 
United  States  of  North  America  (London,  1799) ;  Michaux's  ^'  Journal,"  in 
Proceedings  American  Philosophical  Society,  xxvi,  No.  129;  Forman, 
Narrative  of  a  Journey  Down  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  m  1780-'90  (Cincin- 
nati, 1888);  Bartram,  Travels  Through  North  Carolina,  etc.  (London, 
1792);  Pope,  Tour  Through  the  Southern  and  Western  Territories,  etc. 
(Richmond,  1792) ;  Weld,  Travels  Through  the  States  of  North  America 
(London,  1799) ;  Baily,  Journal  of  a  Tour  in  the  Unsettled  States  of  North 
America,  1796  -'97  (London,  1856) ;  Pennsylvania  Magazine  of  History,  July, 
1886 ;  Winsor,  Narrative  and  Critical  History  of  America,  vii,  pp.  491, 
492,  citations. 

t  Scribner's  Statistical  Atlas,  xxxix. 

t  Turner,  Character  and  Influence  of  the  Indian  Trade  in  Wisconsin 
(Johns  Hopkins  University  Studies,  Series  ix),  pp.  61  ff. 

§Monette,  History  of  the  Mississippi  Valley,  ii;  Flint,  Travels  and 
Residence  in  Mississippi ;  Flint,  Geography  and  History  of  the  Western 
States;  Abridgment  of  Debates  of  Congress,  vii,  pp.  397,  398,404;  Holmes, 
Account  of  the  U.  S. ;  Kingdom,  America  and  the  British  Colonies  (Lon- 
don, 1820);  Grund,  Americans,  ii,  chs.  i,  iii,  vi  (although  writing  in 
1836,  he  treats  of  conditions  that  grew  out  of  western  advance  from  the 


204  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

The  rising  steam  navigation*  on  western  waters,  the  opening 
of  the  Erie  Canal,  and  the  westward  extension  of  cotton  t  culture 
added  five  frontier  states  to  the  Union  in  this  period.  Grund, 
writing  in  1836,  declares :  "  It  appears  then  that  the  universal 
disposition  of  Americans  to  emigrate  to  the  western  wilderness, 
in  order  to  enlarge  their  dominion  over  inanimate  nature,  is  the 
actual  result  of  an  expansive  power  which  is  inherent  in  them, 
and  which  by  continually  agitating  all  classes  of  society  is 
constantly  throwing  a  large  portion  of  the  whole  population 
on  the  extreme  confines  of  the  State,  in  order  to  gain  space  for 
its  development.  Hardly  is  a  new  State  or  Territory  formed 
before  the  same  principle  manifests  itself  again  and  gives  rise 
to  a  further  emigration;  and  so  is  it  destined  to  go  on  until  a 
physical  barrier  must  finally  obstruct  its  progress."  J 

In  the  middle  of  this  century  the  line  indicated  by  the  present 
eastern  boundary  of  Indian  Territory,  Nebraska,  and  Kansas 
marked  the  frontier  of  the  Indian  country.  §    Minnesota  and 

era  of  1820  to  that  time);  Peck,  Guide  for  Emigrants  (Boston,  1831); 
Darby,  Emigrants'  Guide  to  Western  and  Southwestern  States  and  Terri- 
tories; Dana,  Geographical  Sketches  in  the  Western  Country;  Kinzie, 
Waubun ;  Keating,  Narrative  of  Long's  Expedition ;  Schoolcraft,  Discovery 
of  the  Sources  of  the  Mississippi  River,  Travels  in  the  Central  Portions  of 
the  Mississippi  Valley,  and  Lead  Mines  of  the  Missouri;  Andreas,  History 
of  Illinois,  I,  86-99 ;  Hurlbut,  Chicago  Antiquities ;  McKenney,  Tour  to 
the  Lakes;  Thomas,  Travels  through  the  Western  Country,  etc.  (Auburn, 
N.  Y.,  1819), 

*  Darby,  Emigrants'  Guide,  pp.  272  ff. ;  Benton,  Abridgment  of  Debates, 
VII,  p,  397. 

tDe  Bow's  Review,  iv,  p.  254;  xvii,"p.  428. 

t  Grund,  Americans,  ii,  p.  8. 

$  Peck,  New  Guide  to  the  West  (Cincinnati,  1848),  ch.  iv;  Parkman, 
Oregon  Trail;  Hall,  The  West  (Cincinnati,  1848);  Pierce,  Incidents  of 
Western  Travel ;  Murray,  Travels  in  North  America ;  Lloyd,  Steamboat 
Directory  (Cincinnati,  1856);  ''Forty  Days  in  a  Western  Hotel"  (Chi- 
cago), in  Putnam's  Magazine,  December,  1894;  Mackay,  The  Western 
World,  II,  ch.  II,  III ;  Meeker,  Life  in  the  West ;  Bogen,  German  in  Amer- 
ica (Boston,  1851);  Olmstead,  Texas  Journey;  Greeley,  Recollections  of  a 
Busy  Life;  Schouler,  History  of  the  United  States,  v,  261-267;  Peyton, 
Over  the  Alleghanies  and  Across  the  Prairies  (London,  1870) ;  Loughbor- 
ough, The  Pacific  Telegraph  and  Railway  (St.  Louis,  1849);  Whitney, 
Project  for  a  Railroad  to  the  Pacific  (New  York,  1849);  Peyton,  Sugges- 
tions on  Railroad  Communication  with  the  Pacific,  and  the  Trade  of 
China  and  the  Indian  Islands;  Benton,  Highway  to  the  Pacific  (a  speech 
delivered  in  the  U.  S,  Senate,  December  16,  1850). 


EARLY  LEAD-MINING  IN  ILL.  AND  WIS. — THWAITES.      195 


many  Sacs  and  Foxes  who  had  married  with  the  Winnebago 
tribes.  Some  of  these  Foxes,  irritated  by  representatives  of 
the  American  Fur  Company  who  purchased  Indian  lead  along 
the  Fever  Eiver,  made  no  small  amount  of  trouble  for  Dubuque, 

The  United  States  assumed  possession  of  Louisiana  in  1804, 
and  from  that  time  forward  Americans  appeared  in  the  lead 
mines,  although,  as  representatives  of  a  land- grabbing  race, 
they  found  little  favor  with  the  Indians;  the  latter  preferred 
the  volatile  French,  who  were  in  greater  sympathy  with  them, 
and  who  did  not  care  to  make  the  wilderness  blossom  as  the 
rose. 

In  1811  we  find  George  E.  Jackson,  a  Missouri  miner,  build- 
ing a  rude  low  furnace  on  an  island  in  the  Mississippi,  near 
East  Dubuque,  and  floating  his  lead  to  St.  Louis  by  flatboats, 
although  meeting  with  much  opposition  from  the  savages,  who 
bitterly  hated  all  Americans. 

In  1810  Nicholas  Boilvin,  United  States  Indian  agent  at 
Prairie  du  Chien,  went  on  foot  from  Eock  Island  to  the  mouth 
of  the  Wisconsin,  and  reported  that  the  Indians  of  the  region 
had  "mostly  abandoned  the  chase,  except  to  furnish  themselves 
with  meat,  and  turned  their  attention  to  the  manufacture  of 
lead."  He  states  that  that  year  they  had  made  200  tons  of 
the  metal,  which  they  had  exchanged  for  goods,  mainly  with 
Canadian  traders,  who  were  continually  inciting  them  to  oppo- 
sition against  Americans. 

Nine  years  later  (1819)  some  American  traders,  who  at- 
tempted to  go  among  the  Sac  and  Fox  miners  and  run  oppo- 
sition to  the  Canadians,  were  killed.  This  same  year  there 
appears  to  have  been  a  more  general  movement  on  the  lead 
region  on  the  part  of  the  Americans.  The  hostile  Indians 
were  browbeaten  at  a  treaty  held  at  Prairie  du  Chien,  and 
Jesse  W.  Shull,  the  founder  of  ShuUsburg,  Wis.,  erected  a 
trading  post  in  the  vicinity  of  where  is  now  Galena.  The 
same  or  the  following  year  Col.  James  Johnson,  of  Kentucky, 
came  into  the  district  and  worked  mines,  carrying  his  product 
to  St.  Louis  by  flatboat.  In  1822  he  took  out  a  lease  from  the 
national  government,  and  under  strong  military  protection 
encamped  with  a  party  of  negro  slaves  where  Galena  now 
stands,  and  commenced  operations  on  the  most  extensive  scale 
yet  known  in  the  lead  country.  There  were  at  the  time  several 
French  miners  on  Fever  Eiver,  and  one  or  more  American  trad- 
ing posts. 


196  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

On  the  heels  of  Johnson  there  at  once  flocked  to  the  Galena 
region  a  crowd  of  squatters  and  prospectors  from  Missouri, 
Kentucky,  and  Tennessee,  while  many  came  from  southern 
Illinois.  In  1825  there  were  in  the  Fever  Eiver  diggings  about 
100  persons  engaged  in  mining;  in  1826  the  number  rose  to 
453,  while  across  the  river  in  Missouri  there  were  fully  2,000 
men  thus  employed — "miners,  teamsters,  and  laborers  of  every 
kind  (including  slaves)" — but  some  of  these  were  farmers, 
who,  with  their  slaves,  spent  only  their  spare  time  in  the  mines. 

West  of  the  great  river  the  heirs  of  Spanish  claimants  held 
that  the  mines  were  private  property,  and  American  pros- 
pectors were  warned  off.  This  fact  helped  the  development 
of  the  Fever  Eiver  district  to  the  east  of  the  Mississippi. 
In  1827  the  name  Galena  was  applied  to  the  largest  settlement 
on  the  Fever.  In  1829  the  heaviest  American  immigration 
set  in,  and  from  that  time  the  history  of  lead  mining  in  the 
Fever  Eiver  district  is  familiar.  Four  years  later  (1833)  the 
Spanish  and  Indian  titles  in  Missouri  having  been  cleared, 
mining  operations  recommenced  there  upon  an  extended  scale. 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER. 


205 


Wisconsin  still  exhibited  frontier  conditions,*  but  the  dis- 
tinctive frontier  of  the  period  is  found  in  California,  where 
the  gold  discoveries  had  sent  a  sudden  tide  of  adventurous 
miners,  and  in  Oregon,  and  the  settlements  in  Utah.t  As  the 
frontier  has  leaped  over  the  AUeghanies,  so  now  it  skipped 
the  Great  Plains  and  the  Eocky  Mountains  j  and  in  the  same 
way  that  the  advance  of  the  frontiersmen  beyond  the  Alle- 
ghanies  had  caused  the  rise  of  important  questions  of  trans- 
portation and  internal  improvement,  so  now  the  settlers  beyond 
the  Eocky  Mountains  needed  means  of  communication  with 
the  East,  and  in  the  furnishing  of  these  arose  the  settlement 
of  the  Great  Plains  and  the  development  of  still  another  kind 
of  frontier  life.  Eailroads,  fostered  by  land  grants,  sent  an 
increasing  tide  of  immigrants  into  the  far  West.  The  United 
States  Army  fought  a  series  of  Indian  wars  in  Minnesota, 
Dakota,  and  the  Indian  Territory. 

By  1880  the  settled  area  had  been  pushed  into  northern 
Michigan,  Wisconsin,  and  Minnesota,  along  Dakota  rivers,  and 
in  the  Black  Hills  region,  and  was  ascending  the  rivers  of  Kan- 
sas and  i^ebraska.  The  development  of  mines  in  Colorado  had 
drawn  isolated  frontier  settlements  into  that  region,  and  Mon- 
tana and  Idaho  were  receiving  settlers.  The  frontier  was  found 
in  these  mining  camps  and  the  ranches  of  the  Great  Plains. 
The  superintendent  of  the  census  for  1890  reports,  as  i)reviously 
stated,  that  the  settlements  of  the  West  lie  so  scattered  over 
the  region  that  there  can  no  longer  be  said  to  be  a  frontier  line. 

In  these  successive  frontiers  we  find  natural  boundary  lines 
which  have  served  to  mark  and  to  affect  the  characteristics  of 
the  frontiers,  namely:  The  "fall  line j "  the  Alleghany  Moun- 
tains j  the  Mississippi  J  the  Missouri,  where  its  direction  ap- 
proximates north  and  south  5  the  line  of  the  arid  lands,  approx- 
imately the  ninety-ninth  meridian;  and  the  Eocky  Mountains. 
The  fall  line  marked  the  frontier  of  the  seventeenth  century  j 
the  AUeghanies  that  of  the  eighteenth;  the  Mississippi  that  of 

*  A  writer  in  The  Home  Missionary  (1850),  p.  239,  reporting  Wisconsin 
conditions,  exclaims:  "Think  of  this,  people  of  the  enlightened  East. 
What  an  example,  to  come  from  the  very  frontiers  of  civilization !"  But 
one  of  the  missionaries  writes :  ''In  a  few  years  Wisconsin  will  no  longer 
be  considered  as  the  West,  or  as  an  outpost  of  civilization,  any  more  than 
western  New  York,  or  the  Western  Reserve/' 

tBancroft  (H.  H.),  History  of  California,  History  of  Oregon,  and  Pop- 
ular Tribunals ;  Shinn,  Mining  Camps. 


206  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

the  first  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  j  the  Missouri  that  of  the 
middle  of  this  century  (omitting  the  California  movement) ;  and 
the  belt  of  the  Rocky  Mountains  and  the  arid  tract,  the  pres- 
ent frontier.    Each  was  won  by  a  series  of  Indian  wars. 

THE  FRONTIER  FURNISHES  A  FIELD  FOR  COMPARATIVE 
STUDY  OF  SOCIAL  DEVELOPMENT. 

At  the  Atlantic  frontier  one  can  study  the  germs  of  proces- 
ses repeated  at  each  successive  frontier.  We  have  the  complex 
European  life  sharply  precipitated  by  the  wilderness  into  the 
simplicity  of  primitive  conditions.  The  first  frontier  had  to 
meet  its  Indian  question,  its  question  of  the  disposition  of  the 
public  domain,  of  the  means  of  intercourse  with  older  settle- 
ments, of  the  extension  of  political  organization,  of  religious 
and  educational  activity.  And  the  settlement  of  these  and 
similar  questions  for  one  frontier  served  as  a  guide  for  the  next. 
The  American  student  needs  not  to  go  to  the  '^  prim  little  town- 
ships of  Sleswick"  for  illustrations  of  the  law  of  continuity  and 
development.  For  example^  he  may  study  the  origin  of  our 
land  policies  in  the  colonial  land  policy;  he  may  see  how  the 
system  grew  by  adapting  the  statutes  to  the  customs  of  the 
successive  frontiers.*  He  may  see  how  the  mining  experience 
in  the  lead  regions  of  Wisconsin,  Illinois,  and  Iowa  was  applied 
to  the  mining  laws  of  the  Eockies,t  and  how  our  Indian  policy 
has  been  a  series  of  experimentations  on  successive  frontiers. 
Each  tier  of  new  States  has  found  in  the  older  ones  material 
for  its  constitutions.^:  Each  frontier  has  made  similar  contri- 
butions to  American  character,  as  will  be  discussed  farther  on. 

But  with  all  these  similarities  there  are  essential  differences, 
due  to  the  place  element  and  the  time  element.  It  is  evident 
that  the  farming  frontier  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  presents 
different  conditions  from  the  mining  frontier  of  the  liocky 
Mountains.  The  frontier  reached  by  the  Pacific  Eailroad,  sur- 
veyed into  rectangles,  guarded  by  the  United  States  Army,  and 
recruited  by  the  daily  immigrant  ship,  moves  forward  at  a 
swifter  pace  and  in  a  different  way  than  the  frontier  reached 
by  the  birch  canoe  or  the  pack  horse.    The  geologist  traces 

*  See  the  suggestive  paper  by  Prof.  Jesse  Macy,  The  Institutional  Begin- 
nings of  a  Western  State. 

+  Shiun,  Mining  Camps. 

t  Compare  Thorpe,  in  Annals  American  Academy  of  Political  and  Social 
Science,  September,  1891 ;  Bryce,  American  Commonwealth(1888),  ii,  p.  689. 


EARLY  LEAD-MINING  IN  ILL.  AND  WIS. THWAITES.       193 


DothiDg  further  about  the  enterprise  until  1743,  when  one  Le 
Guis  gave  an  account  of  the  methods  of  eighteen  or  twenty 
miners  then  operating  in  the  Fever  river  region :  ^<  a  fast  lot," 
he  says  5  ^^  every  man  working  for  himself,  and  only  getting 
enough  to  earn  him  a  bare  existence  for  the  rest  of  the  year." 
Hollow  cob-houses  of  logs  were  reared,  the  center  being  filled 
with  mineral,  and  then  as  much  wood  as  possible  was  piled  on 
top  and  around,  the  mass  being  fired — with  the  result  that  a 
portion  of  the  ore  was  smelted,  running  into  trenches  dug  in 
the  ground.  This  operation  had  sometimes  to  be  repeated 
three  times.  Le  Guis  deemed  this  wasteful,  yet  similar  meth- 
ods had  long  been  in  vogue  among  the  Indians,  and  indeed 
were  practiced  by  American  miners  of  later  days  until  the 
introduction  of  the  Drummond  blast  furnace,  about  1836.  In 
spite  of  the  bad  system  of  the  French,  it  is  recorded  that  in  1741 
some  90  tons  of  pig  metal  were  taken  out,  the  men  working 
but  four  or  five  months  in  the  year. 

In  1762  France  ceded  the  eastern  half  of  the  Mississippi  val- 
ley to  England,  and  secretly  yielded  up  the  western  half  to 
Spain.  Frenchmen  continued,  however,  for  many  years  to  be 
the  only  operators  of  the  mines.  By  the  year  1770  St.  Gene- 
vieve had  become  a  notable  market  for  lead,  which  was,  next 
to  peltries,  the  most  imi)ortant  and  valuable  export  of  the 
upper  Mississippi  country,  and  served  as  currency,  the  rate  of 
exchange  being  for  many  years  a  peck  of  corn  for  a  peck  of  ore. 
This  lead  trade  was  afterward  removed  to  St.  Louis  when  that 
town  began  to  control  the  commerce  of  the  region.  It  was 
stated  by  a  careful  annalist  that  the  profits  of  the  miners  were 
in  those  days  quite  considerable — men  working  on  their  own 
account  often  taking  out  $30  per  day  for  weeks  together,  while 
the  traders  who  handled  the  product  made  cent  per  cent  for 
the  capital  invested. 

During  the  Eevolutionary  war,  as  seen  from  the  Haldimand 
Papers,  the  western  armies  of  both  contending  forces  had  fre- 
quent skirmishes  over  the  lead  supply  from  the  Fever  Eiver 
and  Dubuque  sections,  and  Spanish  traders  reaped  gain  from 
the  rivalry  over  this  important  munition  of  war. 

Julien  Dubuque  was  the  most  notable  character  among  the 
miners  of  the  last  dozen  years  of  the  eighteenth  century  and 
the  first  ten  of  the  nineteenth.  He  had  made  rich  discoveries 
of  lead  in  the  bluffs  and  ravines  adjoining  the  present  site  of 
the  Iowa  town  which  bears  his  name.  To  curry  favor  with 
S.  Mis.  104 13 


194  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

tlie  Spanish,  then  in  possession  of  the  soil,  lie  called  his  dig- 
gings "The  Spanish  mines "j  and  indeed  there  is  no  doubt 
that  some  years  previous,  Spaniards  had  carried  on  extensive 
works  there,  for  he  found  substantial  roads  through  the  dis- 
trict for  the  transport  of  ore  5  and  very  likely  Indians  had 
mined  there  full  a  century  before,  to  obtain  bullets  for  the 
guns  they  had  procured  from  the  early  French  fur  traders. 

By  Dubuque's  time,  the  Indians  had  become  quite  expert  in 
lead  mining,  their  operations  being  then  chiefly  confined  to 
their  lodes  on  Fever  Eiver.  As  a  rule  they  only  skimmed  the 
surface,  although  occasionally  they  drifted  into  sidehiUs  for 
some  distance,  and  when  they  reached  "  cap  rock  "  would  build 
a  fire  under  it  and  crack  it  by  dashing  cold  water  on  the  heated 
surface.  Their  tools,  in  the  earliest  times,  were  buck  horns, 
many  of  which  were  found  in  abandoned  drifts  by  the  early 
white  settlers  5  but  in  Dubuque's  time  they  obtained  iron  imple- 
ments from  the  traders  to  whom  they  sold  their  lead.  The 
Indians  loaded  their  ore  in  the  shafts,  into  tough  deer  skins, 
the  bundle  being  hoisted  to  the  surface  or  dragged  up  inclined 
planes  by  long  thongs  of  hide.  Many  of  these  Indian  leads, 
abandoned  by  the  savages  when  the  work  of  developing  them 
became  too  great  for  their  simple  tools,  were  afterwards  taken 
possession  of  by  the  whites  and  found  to  be  among  the  best 
in  the  region.  On  the  other  hand,  a  mine  about  a  mile  above 
the  site  of  Galena  had  been  worked  by  Dubuque's  men  for 
many  years,  and  after  his  death  in  1810  was  continued  by 
Indians,  who  in  1819  made  there  the  largest  discovery  of  lead 
ore  up  to  that  date,  the  entire  force  of  the  band  being  neces- 
sary to  raise  the  nugget  to  the  surface.  It  was  estimated  the 
following  year  that  up  to  that  time  millions  of  pounds  had 
been  extracted  from  this  mine,  known  as  the  "  Buck  lead,"  by 
the  Indians  and  Dubuque's  men — more  than  afterwards  taken 
by  the  American  miners,  despite  the  fact  that  it  was  one  of 
the  richest  mines  in  the  region  and  came  to  be  worked  in  a 
scientific  manner. 

Dubuque  was  a  rare  favorite  with  the  bulk  of  the  Indians, 
and  was  allowed  fairly  free  range  over  their  lands  on  both 
sides  of  the  river,  his  operations  extending  well  up  to  the 
Wisconsin  line.  The  Sacs  and  Foxes  were  the  owners  of  the 
lead-mining  district  during  the  eighteenth  century,  but  in  1804 
relinquished  their  lands  east  of  the  river,  and  the  gypsy  Win- 
nebagoes  squatted  in  the  region,  although  with  them  were 


FRONTIER   IN  AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.       207 

patiently  the  shores  of  ancient  seas,  maps  their  areas,  and  com- 
pares the  older  and  the  newer.    It  would  be  a  work  worth  the  ' 
historian's  labors  to  mark  these  various  frontiers  and  in  detail  i 
compare  one  with  another.    Not  only  would  there  result  a  more  i 
adequate  conception  of  American  development  and  character- 
istics, but  invaluable  additions  would  be  made  to  the  history 
of  society. 

Loria,*  the  Italian  economist,  has  urged  the  study  of  colo- 
nial life  as  an  aid  in  understanding  the  stages  of  European 
development,  affirming  that  colonial  settlement  is  for  economic 
science  what  the  mountain  is  for  geology,  bringing  to  light 
primitive  stratifications.  "  America,"  he  says,  ^'  has  the  key  to 
the  historical  enigma  which  Europe  has  sought  for  centuries  in 
vain,  and  the  land  which  has  no  history  reveals  luminously  the 
course  of  universal  history."  There  is  much  truth  in  this.  The 
Uijited  States  lies  like  a  huge  page  in  the  history  of  society. 
Line  by  line  as  we  read  this  continental  page  from  west  to  east 
we  find  the  record  of  social  evolution.  It  begins  with  the 
Indian  and  the  hunter;  it  goes  on  to  tell  of  the  disintegration 
of  savagery  by  the  entrance  of  the  trader,  the  pathfinder  of 
civilization;  we  read  the  annals  of  the  pastoral  stage  in  ranch 
life;  the  exploitation  of  the  soil  by  the  raising  of  unrotated 
crops  of  corn  and  wheat  in  sparsely  settled  farming  communi- 
ties; the  intensive  culture  of  the  denser  farm  settlement;  and 
finally  the  manufacturing  organization  with  city  and  factory 
system,  t  This  page  is  familiar  to  the  student  of  census  sta- 
tistics, but  how  little  of  it  has  been  used  by  our  historians. 
Particularly  in  eastern  States  this  page  is  a  palimpsest. 
What  is  now  a  manufacturing  State  was  in  an  earlier  decade 
an  area  of  intensive  farming.  Earlier  yet  it  had  been  a  wheat 
area,  and  still  earlier  the  ^'  range"  had  attracted  the  cattle- 
herder.  Thus  Wisconsin,  now  developing  manufacture,  is  a 
State  with  varied  agricultural  interests.  But  earlier  it  was 
given  over  to  almost  exclusive  grain-raising,  like  North  Dakota 
at  the  present  time. 

Each  of  these  areas  has  had  an  influence  in  our  economic 

*  Loria,  Analisi  della  Proprieta  Capitalista,  ii.,  p.  15. 

+  Compare  Observations  on  the  North  American  Land  Company,  London, 
1796,  pp.  XV,  144;  Logan,  History  of  Upper  South  Carolina,  i,  pp.  149-151; 
Turner,  Character  and  Influence  of  Indian  Trade  in  Wisconsin,  p.  18 ;  Peck, 
New  Guide  for  Emigrants  (Boston,  1837),  ch.  iv;  Compendium  Eleventh 
Census,  i,  p.  xl. 


208  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

and  political  history j  the  evolution  of  each  into  a  higher 
stage  has  worked  political  transformations.  But  what  consti- 
tutional historian  has  made  any  adequate  attempt  to  interpret 
pohtical  facts  by  the  light  of  these  social  areas  and  changes!* 
The  Atlantic  frontier  was  compounded  of  fisherman,  fur- 
trader,  miner,  cattle-raiser,  and  farmer.  Excepting  the  fisher- 
man, each  type  of  industry  was  on  the  march  toward  the  West, 
impelled  by  an  irresistible  attraction.  Each  i^assed  in  succes- 
sive waves  across  the  continent.  Stand  at  Cumberland  Gap 
and  watch  the  procession  of  civilization,  marching  single  file — 
the  buffalo  following  the  trail  to  the  salt  springs,  the  Indian, 
the  fur-trader  and  hunter,  the  cattle-raiser,  the  pioneer  farmer — 
and  the  frontier  has  passed  by.  Stand  at  South  Pass  in  the 
Eockies  a  century  later  and  see  the  same  procession  with 
wider  intervals  between.  The  unequal  rate  of  advance  com- 
pels us  to  distinguish  the  frontier  into  the  trader's  frontier,  the 
rancher's  frontier,  or  the  miner's  frontier,  and  the  farmer's 
frontier.  When  the  mines  and  the  cow  pens  were  still  near 
the  fall  line  the  traders'  pack  trains  were  tinkling  across  the 
Alleghanies,  and  the  French  on  the  Great  Lakes  were  fortify- 
ing their  posts,  alarmed  by  the  British  trader's  birch  canoe. 
When  the  trappers  scaled  the  Eockies,  the  farmer  was  still 
near  the  mouth  of  the  Missouri. 

THE  INDIAN  TRADER'S  FRONTIER. 

Why  was  it  that  the  Indian  trader  passed  so  rapidly  across 
the  continent?  What  effects  followed  from  the  trader's 
frontier?  The  trade  was  coeval  with  American  discovery. 
The  Norsemen,  Yespuccius,  Yerrazani,  Hudson,  John  Smith, 
all  trafficked  for  furs.  The  Plymouth  pilgrims  settled  in  Indian 
cornfields,  and  their  first  return  cargo  was  of  beaver  and  lum- 
ber. The  records  of  the  various  New  England  colonies  show 
how  steadily  exploration  was  carried  into  the  wilderness  by 
this  trade.  What  is  true  for  I^ew  England  is,  as  would  be 
expected,  even  plainer  for  the  rest  of  the  colonies.  All  along 
the  coast  from  Maine  to  Georgia  the  Indian  trade  opened  up 
the  river  courses.  Steadily  the  trader  passed  westward, 
utihzing  the  older  lines  of  French  trade.  The  Ohio,  the  Great 
Lakes,  the  Mississippi,  the  Missouri,  and  the  Platte,  the  lines 
of  western  advance,  were  ascended  by  traders.    They  found 


*  See  pages  220, 221, 223,  post,  for  illustrations  of  the  political  accompani- 
ments of  changed  industrial  conditions. 


FRONTIER   IN  AMERICAN  HISTORY — TURNER.        209 

the  passes  in  the  Eocky  Mountains  and  guided  Lewis  and 
Clarke,*  Fremont,  and  Bidwell.  The  explanation  of  the 
rapidity  of  this  advance  is  connected  with  the  effects  of  the 
trader  on  the  Indian.  The  trading  post  left  the  unarmed 
tribes  at  the  mercy  of  those  that  had  purchased  fire-arms — a 
truth  which  the  Iroquois  Indians  wrote  in  blood,  and  so  the 
remote  and  unvisited  tribes  gave  eager  welcome  to  the  trader. 
"The  savages,"  wrote  La  Salle,  'Hake  better  care  of  us  French 
than  of  their  own  children;  from  us  only  can  they  get  guns 
and  goods."  This  accounts  for  the  trader's  power  and  the 
rapidity  of  his  advance.  Thus  the  disintegrating  forces  of 
civilization  entered  the  wilderness.  Every  river  valley  and 
Indian  trail  became  a  fissure  in  Indian  society,  and  so  that 
society  became  honeycombed.  Long  before  the  pioneer  farmer 
appeared  on  the  scene,  primitive  Indian  life  had  passed  away. 
The  farmers  met  Indians  armed  with  guns.  The  trading 
frontier,  while  steadily  undermining  Indian  power  by  making 
the  tribes  ultimately  dependent  on  the  whites,  yet,  through  its 
sale  of  guns,  gave  to  the  Indians  increased  power  of  resistance 
to  the  farming  frontier.  French  colonization  was  dominated' 
by  its  trading  frontier;  English  colonization  by  its  farming  i 
frontier.  There  was  an  antagonism  between  the  two  frontiers ' 
as  between  the  two  nations.  Said  Duquesne  to  the  Iroquois, 
''Are  you  ignorant  of  the  difference  between  the  king  of  Eng- 
land and  the  king  of  France?  Go  see  the  forts  that  our  king 
has  established  and  you  will  see  that  you  can  still  hunt  under 
their  very  walls.  They  have  been  i^laced  for  your  advantage 
in  places  which  you  frequent.  The  English,  on  the  contrary, 
are  no  sooner  in  possession  of  a  place  than  the  game  is  driven 
away.  The  forest  falls  before  them  as  they  advance,  and  the 
soil  is  laid  bare  so  that  you  can  scarce  find  the  wherewithal  to 
erect  a  shelter  for  the  night." 

And  yet,  in  spite  of  this  opposition  of  the  interests  of  the 
trader  and  the  farmer,  the  Indian  trade  pioneered  the  way 
for  civilization.  The  buffalo  trail  became  the  Indian  trail, 
and  this  because  the  trader's  "trace;"  the  trails  widened  into 
roads,  and  the  roads  into  turnpikes,  and  these  in  turn  were 
transformed  into  railroads.  The  same  origin  can  be  shown 
for  the  railroads  of  the  South,  the  far  West,  and  the  Dominion 

*But  Lewis  and  Clarke  were  the  first  to  explore  the  route  from  the 
Missouri  to  the  Columhia. 
S.  Mis.  104 14 


210  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

of  Canada.*  The  trading  posts  reached  by  these  trails  were 
on  the  sites  of  Indian  villages  which  had  been  placed  in 
positions  suggested  by  nature  5  and  these  trading  posts, 
situated  so  as  to  command  the  water  systems  of  the  country, 
have  grown  into  such  cities  as  Albany,  Pittsburg,  Detroit, 
Chicago,  St.  Louis,  Council  Bluffs,  and  Kansas  City.  Thus 
civilization  in  America  has  followed  the  arteries  made  by 
geology,  pouring  an  ever  richer  tide  through  them,  until  at 
last  the  slender  paths  of  aboriginal  intercourse  have  been 
broadened  and  interwoven  into  the  complex  mazes  of  modern 
commercial  lines;  the  wilderness  has  been  interpenetrated  by 
lines  of  civilization  growing  ever  more  numerous.  It  is  like 
the  steady  growth  of  a  complex  nervous  system  for  the 
originally  simple,  inert  continent.  If  one  would  understand 
why  we  are  to-day  one  nation,  rather  than  a  collection  of 
isolated  states,  he  must  study  this  economic  and  social  con- 
solidation of  the  country.  In  this  progress  from  savage  con- 
ditions lie  topics  for  the  evolutionist,  f 

The  effect  of  the  Indian  frontier  as  a  consolidating  agent  in 
our  history  is  important.  From  the  close  of  the  seventeenth 
century  various  intercolonial  congresses  have  been  called  to 
treat  with  Indians  and  establish  common  measures  of  defense. 
Particularism  was  strongest  in  colonies  with  no  Indian  frontier. 
This  frontier  stretched  along  the  western  border  like  a  cord  of 
union.  The  Indian  was  a  common  danger,  demanding  united 
action.  Most  celebrated  of  these  conferences  was  the  Albany 
congress  of  1754,  called  to  treat  with  the  Six  Nations,  and  to 
consider  plans  of  union.  Even  a  cursory  reading  of  the  plan 
proposed  by  the  congress  reveals  the  importance  of  the  frontier. 
The  powers  of  the  general  council  and  the  officers  were,  chiefly, 
the  determination  of  peace  and  war  with  the  Indians,  the  regu- 
lation of  Indian  trade,  the  purchase  of  Indian  lands,  and  the 
creation  and  government  of  new  settlements  as  a  security 
against  the  Indians.  It  is  evident  that  the  unifying  tenden- 
cies of  the  Eevolutionary  period  were  facilitated  by  the  previous 
cooperation  in  the  regulation  of  the  frontier.  In  this  connec- 
tion may  be  mentioned  the  importance  of  the  frontier,  from 

*  Narrative  and  Critical  History  of  America,  viii,  p.  10 ;  Sparks'  Wash- 
ington Works,  IX,  pp.  303, 327;  Logan,  History  of  Upper  South  Carolina, 
i;  McDonald,  Life  of  Kenton,  p.  72;  Cong.  Record,  xxiii,  p.  57. 

t  On  the  effect  of  the  fur  trade  in  opening  the  routes  of  migration,  see 
the  author's  Character  and  Influence  of  the  Indian  Trade  in  Wisconsin. 


FRONTIER   IN  AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.        211 

that  day  to  this,  as  a  military  training  school,  keeping  alive 
the  power  of  resistance  to  aggression,  and  developing  the  stal- 
wart and  rugged  qualities  of  the  frontiersman. 

THE  rancher's  FRONTIER. 

It  would  not  be  possible  in  the  limits  of  this  paper  to  trace 
the  other  frontiers  across  the  continent.  Travelers  of  the 
eighteenth  century  found  the  "cowpens"  among  the  cane- 
brakes  and  pea  vine  pastures  of  the  South,  and  the  "cow 
drivers"  took  their  droves  to  Charleston,  Philadelphia,  and  New 
York.*  Travelers  at  the  close  of  the  War  of  1812  met  droves 
of  more  than  a  thousand  cattle  and  swine  from  the  interior  of 
Ohio  going  to  Pennsylvania  to  fatten  for  the  Philadelphia  mar- 
ket.! The  ranges  of  the  Great  Plains,  with  ranch  and  cowboy 
and  nomadic  life,  are  things  of  yesterday  and  of  to-day.  The 
experience  of  the  Carolina  cowpens  guided  the  ranchers  of 
Texas.  One  element  favoring  the  rapid  extension  of  the 
rancher's  frontier  is  the  fact  that  in  a  remote  country  lacking 
transportation  facilities  the  product  must  be  in  small  bulk,  or 
must  be  able  to  transport  itself,  and  the  cattle  raiser  could 
easily  drive  his  product  to  market.  The  effect  of  these  great 
ranches  on  the  subsequent  agrarian  history  of  the  localities  in 
which  they  existed  should  be  studied. 

THE  FARMER'S  FRONTIER. 

The  maps  of  the  census  reports  show  an  uneven  advance  of 
the  farmer's  frontier,  with  tongues  of  settlement  pushed  for- 
ward and  with  indentations  of  wilderness.  In  part  this  is  due 
to  Indian  resistance,  in  part  to  the  location  of  river  valleys 
and  passes,  in  part  to  the  unequal  force  of  the  centers  of  fron- 
tier attraction.  Among  the  important  centers  of  attraction 
may  be  mentioned  the  following :  fertile  and  favorably  situated 
soils,  salt  springs,  mines,  and  army  posts. 

ARMY  POSTS. 

The  frontier  army  post,  serving  to  protect  the  settlers  from 
the  Indians,  has  also  acted  as  a  wedge  to  open  the  Indian 
country,  and  has  been  a  nucleus  for  settlement.  |    In  this  con- 

*  Lodge,  English  Colonies,  p.  152  and  citations;  Logan,  Hist,  of  Upper 
South  Carolina,  i,  p.  151. 
t  Flint,  Recollections,  p.  9. 
tSee  Monette,  Mississippi  Valley,  i,  p.  344. 


212  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

nection  mention  should  also  be  made  of  the  Government  mili- 
tary and  exploring  expeditions  in  determining  the  lines  of  set- 
tlement. But  all  the  more  important  expeditions  were  greatly 
indebted  to  the  earliest  pathmakers,  the  Indian  guides,  the 
traders  and  trappers,  and  the  French  voyageurs,  who  were 
inevitable  parts  of  governmental  exijeditions  from  the  days  of 
Lewis  and  Clarke.*  Each  expedition  was  an  epitome  of  the 
previous  factors  in  western  advance. 

SALT   SPRINGS. 

In  an  interesting  monograph,  Victor  Hehn  t  has  traced  the 
effect  of  salt  upon  early  European  development,  and  has 
pointed  out  how  it  affected  the  lines  of  settlement  and  the  form 
of  administration.  A  similar  study  might  be  made  for  the 
salt  springs  of  the  United  States.  The  early  settlers  were  tied 
to  the  coast  by  the  need  of  salt,  without  which  they  could  not 
preserve  their  meats  or  live  in  comfort.  Writing  in  1752, 
Bishop  Spangenburg  says  of  a  colony  for  which  he  was  seek- 
ing lands  in  North  Carolina,  "  They  will  require  salt  &  other 
necessaries  which  they  can  neither  manufacture  nor  raise. 
Either  they  must  go  to  Charleston,  which  is  300  miles  distant 
*  *  *  Or  else  they  must  go  to  Boling's  Point  in  Y^  on  a 
branch  of  the  James  &  is  also  300  miles  from  here  *  *  * 
Or  else  tbey  must  go  down  the  Roanoke— I  know  not  how  many 
miles — where  salt  is  brought  up  from  the  Cape  Fear."  |  This 
may  serve  as  a  typical  illustration.  An  annual  pilgrimage  to 
the  coast  for  salt  thus  became  essential.'  Taking  flocks  or 
furs  and  ginseng  root,  the  early  settlers  sent  their  pack  trains 
after  seeding  time  each  year  to  the  coast.§  This  proved  to  be 
an  important  educational  influence,  since  it  was  almost  the 
only  way  in  which  the  pioneer  learned  what  was  going  on  in 
the  East.  But  when  discovery  was  made  of  the  salt  springs 
of  the  Kanawha,  and  the  Holston,  and  Kentucky,  and  central 
New  York,  the  West  began  to  be  freed  from  dependence  on 
the  coast.  It  was  in  part  the  effect  of  finding  these  salt  springs 
that  enabled  settlement  to  cross  the  mountains. 

*Coues',  Lewis  and  Clarke's  Expedition,  i,  pp.  2,  253-259;  Benton,  in 
Cong.  Record,  xxiii,  p.  57. 

tHehn,  Das  Salz  (Berlin,  1873). 

tCol.  Eecords  of  N.  C,  v,  p.  3. 

$  Findley,  History  of  tlie  Insurrection  in  the  Four  Western  Counties 
of  Pennsylvania  in  the  Year  1794  (Philadelphia,  1796),  p.  35. 


u 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.        213 

From  the  time  the  mountains  rose  between  the  pioneer  and  \\ 
the  seaboard,  a  new  order  of  Americanism  arose.  The  West  | 
and  the  East  began  to  get  out  of  touch  of  each  other.  The 
settlements  from  the  sea  to  the  mountains  kept  connection 
with  the  rear  and  had  a  certain  solidarity.  But  the  over- 
mountain  men  grew  more  and  more  independent.  The  East 
took  a  narrow  view  of  American  advance,  and  nearly  lost  these 
men.  Kentucky  and  Tennessee  history  bears  abundant  wit- 
ness to  the  truth  of  this  statement.  The  East  began  to  try  to 
hedge  and  limit  westward  expansion.  Though  Webster  could 
declare  that  there  were  no  Alleghanies  in  his  politics,  yet  in 
pohtics  in  general  they  were  a  very  solid  factor. 


LAND. 

The  exploitation  of  the  beasts  took  hunter  and  trader  to  the 
west,  the  exploitation  of  the  grasses  took  the  rancher  west, 
and  the  exploitation  of  the  virgin  soil  of  the  river  valleys  and 
prairies  attracted  the  farmer.  Good  soils  have  been  the  most 
continuous  attraction  to  the  farmer's  frontier.  The  land  hun- 
ger of  the  Virginians  drew  them  down  the  rivers  into  Carolina, 
in  early  colonial  daysj  the  search  for  soils  took  the  Massa- 
chusetts men  to  Pennsylvania  and  to  Kew  York.  As  the 
eastern  lands  were  taken  up  migration  flowed  across  them  to 
the  west.  Daniel  Boone,  the  great  backwoodsman,  who  com- 
bined the  occupations  of  hunter,  trader,  cattle-raiser,  farmer, 
and  surveyor — learning,  probably  from  the  traders,  of  the 
fertihty  of  the  lands  on  the  upper  Yadkin,  where  the  traders 
were  wont  to  rest  as  they  took  their  way  to  the  Indians,  left 
his  Pennsylvania*  home  with  his  father,  and  passed  down  the 
Great  Valley  road  to  that  stream.  Learning  from  a  trader 
whose  posts  were  on  the  Eed  Eiver  in  Kentucky  of  its  game 
and  rich  pastures,  he  pioneered  the  way  for  the  farmers  to  that 
region.  Thence  he  passed  to  the  frontier  of  Missouri,  where 
his  settlement  was  long  a  landmark  on  the  frontier.  Here 
again  he  helped  to  open  the  way  for  civilization,  finding  salt 
licks,  and  trails,  and  land.  His  son  was  among  the  earliest 
trappers  in  the  passes  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  his  party 
are  said  to  have  been  the  first  to  camp  on  the  present  site  of 
Denver.  His  grandson.  Col.  A.  J.  Boone,  of  Colorado,  was  a 
power  among  the  Indians  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  was 
appointed  an  agent  by  the  Government.     Kit  Carson's  mother 


214  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

was  a  Boone.*    Thus  this  family  epitomizes  the  backwoods- 
man's advance  across  the  continent. 

The  farmer's  advance  came  in  a  distinct  series  of  waves.  In 
Peck's  Kew  Guide  to  the  West,  published  in  Boston  in  1837, 
occurs  this  suggestive  passage : 

Generally,  in  all  the  western  settlements,  three  classes,  like  the  waves 
of  the  ocean,  have  rolled  one  after  the  other.  First  comes  the  pioneer, 
who  depends  for  the  subsistence  of  his  family  chiefly  upon  the  natural 
growth  of  vegetation,  called  the  ^' range,"  and  the  proceeds  of  hunting. 
His  implements  of  agriculture  are  rude,  chiefly  of  his  own  make,  and  his 
efforts  directed  mainly  to  a  crop  of  com  and  a  "truck  patch."  The  last 
is  a  rude  garden  for  growing  cabbage,  beans,  corn  for  roasting  ears,  cucum- 
bers, and  potatoes.  A  log  cabin,  and,  occasionally,  a  stable  and  corn-crib, 
and  a  field  of  a  dozen  acres,  the  timber  girdled  or  "  deadened,"  and  fenced, 
are  enough  for  his  occupancy.  It  is  quite  immaterial  whether  he  ever  be- 
comes the  owner  of  the  soil.  He  is  the  occupant  for  the  time  being,  pays 
no  rent,  and  feels  as  independent  as  the  "lord  of  the  manor."  With  a 
horse,  cow,  and  one  or  two  breeders  of  swine,  he  strikes  into  the  woods 
with  his  family,  and  becomes  the  founder  of  a  new  county,  or  perhaps 
state.  He  builds  his  cabin,  gathers  around  him  a  few  other  families  of 
similar  tastes  and  habits,  and  occupies  till  the  range  is  somewhat  subdued, 
and  hunting  a  little  precarious,  or,  which  is  more  frequently  the  case,  till 
the  neighbors  crowd  around,  roads,  bridges,  and  fields  annoy  him,  and  he 
lacks  elbow  room.  The  preemption  law  enables  him  to  dispose  of  his 
cabin  and  cornfield  to  the  next  class  of  emigrants;  and,  to  employ  his 
own  figures,  he  "breaks  for  the  high  timber,"  "clears  out  for  the  New 
Purchase,"  or  migrates  to  Arkansas  or  Texas,  to  work  the  same  process 
over. 

The  next  class  of  emigrants  purchase  the  lands,  add  field  to  field,  clear 
out  the  roads,  throw  rough  bridges  over  the  streams,  put  up  hewn  log 
houses  with  glass  windows  and  brick  or  stone  chimneys,  occasionally  plant 
orchards,  build  mills,  schoolhouses,  court-houses,  etc.,  and  exhibit  the 
picture  and  forms  of  plain,  frugal,  civilized  life. 

Another  wave  rolls  on.  The  men  of  capital  and  enterprise  come.  The 
settler  is  ready  to  sell  out  and  take  the  advantage  of  the  rise  in  property, 
push  farther  into  the  interior  and  become,  himself,  a  man  of  capital  and 
enterprise  in  turn.  The  small  village  rises  to  a  spacious  town  or  city ; 
substantial  edifices  of  brick,  extensive  fields,  orchards,  gardens,  colleges, 
and  churches  are  seen.  Broadcloths,  silks,  leghorns,  crapes,  and  all  the 
refinements,  luxuries,  elegancies,  frivolities,  and  fashions  are  in  vogue. 
Thus  wave  after  wave  is  rolling  westward;  the  real  Eldorado  is  still 
farther  on. 

A  portion  of  the  two  first  classes  remain  stationary  amidst  the  general 
movement,  improve  their  habits  and  condition,  and  rise  in  the  scale  of 
society. 

The  writer  has  traveled  much  amongst  the  first  class,  the  real  pioneers. 
He  has  lived  many  years  in  connection  with  the  second  grade;  and  now 

*Hale,  Daniel  Boone  (pamphlet). 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY TURNER. 


215 


the  third  wave  is  sweeping  over  large  districts  of  Indiana,  Illinois,  and 
Missouri.  Migration  has  become  almost  a  habit  in  the  "West.  Hundreds 
of  men  can  he  found,  not  over  50  years  of  age,  who  have  settled  for  the 
fourth,  fifth,  or  sixth  time  on  a  new  spot.  To  sell  out  and  remove  only  a 
fevi  hundred  miles  makes  up  a  portion  of  the  variety  of  backwoods  life 
and  manners.* 

Omitting  those  of  the  pioneer  farmers  who  move  from  the 
love  of  adventure,  the  advance  of  the  more  steady  farmer  is 
easy  to  understand.  Obviously  the  immigrant  was  attracted 
by  the  cheap  lands  of  the  frontier,  and  even  the  native  farmer 
felt  their  influence  strongly.  Year  by  year  the  farmers  who 
lived  on  soil  whose  returns  were  diminished  by  unrotated 
crops  were  offered  the  virgin  soil  of  the  frontier  at  nominal 
prices.  Their  growing  families  demanded  more  lands,  and 
these  were  dear.  The  competition  of  the  unexhausted,  cheap, 
and  easily  tilled  prairie  lands  compelled  the  farmer  either  to 
go  west  and  continue  the  exhaustion  of  the  soil  on  a  new 
frontier,  or  to  adopt  intensive  culture.  Thus  the  census  of 
1890  shows,  in  the  I*5"orthwest,  many  counties  in  which  there 
is  an  absolute  or  a  relative  decrease  of  population.  These 
States  have  been  sending  farmers  to  advance  the  frontier  on 
the  plains,  and  have  themselves  begun  to  turn  to  intensive 
farming  and  to  manufacture.  A  decade  before  this,  Ohio  had 
shown  the  same  transition  stage.  Thus  the  demand  for  land 
and  the  love  of  wilderness  freedom  drew  the  frontier  ever 
onward. 

Having  now  roughly  outlined  the  various  kinds  of  frontiers, 
and  their  modes  of  advance,  chiefly  from  the  point  of  view  of 
the  frontier  itself,  we  may  next  inquire  what  were  the  influences 
on  the  East  and  on  the  Old  World.  A  rapid  enumeration  of 
some  of  the  more  noteworthy  effects  is  all  that  I  have  time  for. 

COMPOSITE   NATIONALITY. 

First,  we  note  that  the  frontier  promoted  the  formation  of  a 
composite  nationality  for  the  American  people.  The  coast  was 
preponderantly  English,  but  the  later  tides  of  continental  im- 
migration flowed  across  to  the  free  lands.  This  was  the  case 
from  the  early  colonial  days.     The  Scotch  Irish  and  the  Pala- 


*  Compare  Baily,  Tour  in  the  Unsettled  Parts  of  North  America  (London, 
1856),  pp.  217-219,  where  a  similar  analysis  is  made  for  1796.  See  also 
Collot,  Journey  in  North  America  (Paris,  1826),  p.  109;  Observations  on 
the  North  American  Land  Company  (London,  1796),  pp.  xv,  144;  Logan, 
History  of  Upper  South  Carolina. 


216  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

tine  Germans,  or  "Pennsylvania  Dutch,"  furnished  the  dom- 
inant element  in  the  stock  of  the  colonial  frontier.  With  these 
peoples  were  also  the  freed  indented  servants,  or  redemptioners, 
who  at  the  expiration  of  their  time  of  service  passed  to  the 
frontier.  Governor  Spottswood  of  Virginia  writes  in  1717, 
"  The  inhabitants  of  our  frontiers  are  composed  generally  of 
such  as  have  been  transported  hither  as  servants,  and,  being 
out  of  their  time,  settle  themselves  where  land  is  to  be  taken 
up  and  that  will  produce  the  necessarys  of  life  with  little 
labour."*  Very  generally  these  redemptioners  were  of  non- 
English  stock.  In  the  crucible  of  the  frontier  the  immigrants 
were  Americanized,  liberated,  and  fused  into  a  mixed  race, 
English  in  neither  nationality  or  characteristics.  The  process 
has  gone  on  from  the  early  days  to  our  own.  Burke  and  other 
writers  in  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth  century  believed  that 
Pennsylvania t  was  "threatened  with  the  danger  of  being 
wholly  foreign  in  language,  manners,  and  perhaps  even  inclina- 
tions." The  German  and  Scotch-Irish  elements  in  the  frontier 
of  the  South  were  only  less  great.  In  the  middle  of  the  present 
century  the  German  element  in  Wisconsin  was  already  so 
considerable  that  leading  publicists  looked  to  the  creation  of  a 
German  state  out  of  the  commonwealth  by  concentrating  their 
colonization .f  Such  examples  teach  us  to  beware  of  misinter- 
preting the  fact  that  there  is  a  common  English  speech  in 
America  into  a  belief  that  the  stock  is  also  English. 

INDUSTRIAL  INDEPENDENCE. 

In  another  way  the  advance  of  the  frontier  decreased  our 
dependence  on  England.  The  coast,  particularly  of  the  South, 
lacked  diversified  industries,  and  was  dependent  on  England 
for  the  bulk  of  its  supplies.  In  the  South  there  was  even  a 
dependence  on  the  Northern  colonies  for  articles  of  food.  Gov- 
ernor Glenn,  of  South  Carolina,  writes  in  the  middle  of  the 
eighteenth  century :  "  Our  trade  with  New  York  and  Philadel- 
phia was  of  this  sort,  draining  us  of  all  the  little  money  and 
bills  we  could  gather  from  other  places  for  their  bread,  flour, 
beer,  hams,  bacon,  and  other  things  of  their  produce,  all  which, 
except  beer,  our  new  townships  begin  to  supply  us  with,  which 

* ''  Spottswood  Papers/'  in  Collections  of  Virginia  Historical  Society, 
1,11. 
t  [Burke],  European  Settlements,  etc.  (1765  ed.),  ii,  p.  200. 
J  Everest,  in  Wisconsin  Historical  Collections,  xii,  pp.  7  fF 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY TURNER.        217 

are  settled  with  very  industrious  and  thriving  Germans.  This 
no  doubt  diminishes  the  number  of  shipping  and  the  appear- 
ance of  our  trade,  but  it  is  far  from  being  a  detriment  to  us."* 
Before  long  the  frontier  created  a  demand  for  merchants.  As 
it  retreated  from  the  coast  it  became  less  and  less  possible  for 
England  to  bring  her  supplies  directly  to  the  consumer's 
wharfs,  and  carry  away  staple  crops,  and  staple  crops  began 
to  give  way  to  diversified  agriculture  for  a  time.  The  effect 
of  this  phase  of  the  frontier  action  upon  the  northern  section 
is  perceived  when  we  realize  how  the  advance  of  the  frontier 
aroused  seaboard  cities  like  Boston,  IS'ew  York,  and  Baltimore, 
to  engage  in  rivalry  for  what  Washington  called  "  the  exten- 
sive and  valuable  trade  of  a  rising  empire." 

EFFECTS   ON  NATIONAL  LEGISLATION. 

The  legislation  which  most  developed  the  powers  of  the 
National  Government,  and  played  the  largest  part  in  its  activ- 
ity, was  conditioned  on  the  frontier.    Writers  have  discussed 
the  subjects  of  tariff,  land,  and  internal  improvement,  as  sub- 
sidiary to  the  slavery  question.    But  when  American  history 
comes  to  be  rightly  viewed  it  will  be  seen  that  the  slavery 
question  is  an  incident.    In  the  period  from  the  end  of  the  first 
half  of  the  present  century  to  the  close  of  the  civil  war  slav- 
ery rose  to  primary,  but  far  from  exclusive,  importance.    But 
this  does  not  justify  Dr.  von  Hoist  (to  take  an  example)  in 
treating  our  constitutional  history  in  its  formative  period  down  \ 
to  1828  in  a  single  volume,  giving  six  volumes  chiefly  to  the  ( 
history  of  slavery  from  1828  to  1861,  under  the  title  "Constitu-  I 
tional  History  of  the  United  States."    The  growth  of  national-  ^ 
ism  and  the  evolution  of  American  political  institutions  were 
dependent  on  the  advance  of  the  frontier.     Even  so  recent  a 
writer  as  Ehodes,  in  his  History  of  the  United  States  since  the 
compromise  of  1850,  has  treated  the  legislation  called  out  by 
the  western  advance  as  incidental  to  the  slavery  struggle. 

This  is  a  wrong  perspective.  The  pioneer  needed  the  goods  of 
the  coast,  and  so  the  grand  series  of  internal  improvement  and 
railroad  legislation  began,  with  potent  nationalizing  effects. 
Over  internal  improvements  occurred  great  debates,  in  which 
grave  constitutional  questions  were  discussed.  Sectional 
groupings  appear  in  the  votes,  profoundly  significant  for  the 

*  Weston,  Documents  connected  with  History  of  South  Carolina,  p.  61. 


218  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

historian.  Loose  construction  increased  as  the  nation  marched 
westward.*  But  the  West  was  not  content  with  bringing  the 
farm  to  the  factory.  Under  the  lead  of  Clay — "Harry  of  the 
^est " — ^protective  tariffs  were  passed,  with  the  cry  of  bring- 
ing the  factory  to  the  farm.  The  disposition  of  the  public 
lands  was  a  third  important  subject  of  national  legislation 
influenced  by  the  frontier. 

THE   PUBLIC   DOMAIN. 

The  public  domain  has  been  a  force  of  profound  importance 
in  the  nationalization  and  development  of  the  Government. 
The  effects  of  the  struggle  of  the  landed  and  the  landless  States, 
and  of  the  ordinance  of  1787,  need  no  discussion,  t  Adminis- 
tratively the  frontier  called  out  some  of  the  highest  and  most 
vitalizing  activities  of  the  General  Government.  The  purchase 
of  Louisiana  was  perhaps  the  constitutional  turning  point  in 
the  history  of  the  Eepublic,  inasmuch  as  it  afforded  both  a  new 
area  for  national  legislation  and  the  occasion  of  the  downfall 
of  the  policy  of  strict  construction.  But  the  purchase  of  Louis- 
iana was  called  out  by  frontier  needs  and  demands.  As  fron- 
tier States  accrued  to  the  Union  the  national  power  grew.  In 
a  speech  on  the  dedication  of  the  Calhoun  monument  Mr. 
Lamar  explained :  ''  In  1789  the  States  were  the  creators  of  the 
Federal  Government;  in  1861  the  Federal  Government  was  | 

the  creator  of  a  large  majority  of  the  States."  v 

When  we  consider  the  public  domain  from  the  point  of  view  ^" 

of  the  sale  and  disposal  of  the  public  lands  we  are  again  brought  ■ 

face  to  face  with  the  frontier.    The  policy  of  the  United  States  ;_ 

in  dealing  with  i  ts  lands  is  in  sharp  contrast  with  the  European  | 

system  of  scientific  administration.  Efforts  to  make  this  domain 
a  source  of  revenue,  and  to  withhold  it  from  emigrants  in  order 
that  settlement  might  be  compact,  were  in  vain.  The  jealousy 
and  the  fears  of  the  East  were  powerless  in  the  face  of  the 
demands  of  the  frontiersmen.  John  Quincy  Adams  was  obliged 
to  confess:  ^'My  own  system  of  administration,  which  was  to 
make  the  national  domain  the  inexhaustible  fund  for  progress- 
ive  and  unceasing  internal  improvement,  has  failed."    The  ' 

*See,  for  example,  the  speech  of  Clay,  in  the  House  of  Representatives, 
January  30,  1824. 

t  See  the  admirable  monograph  by  Prof.  H.  B.  Adams,  Maryland's  Influ- 
ence on  the  Land  Cessions;  and  also  President  Welling,  in  Papers  Ameri- 
can Historical  Association,  iii,  p.  411. 


FRONTIER    IN   AMERICAN  HISTORY TURNER.        21^ 

reason  is  obvious  j  a  system  of  administration  was  not  what 
the  West  demanded  j  it  wanted  land.  Adams  states  the  situa- 
tion as  follows:  "The  slaveholders  of  the  South  have  bought 
the  cooperation  of  the  western  country  by  the  bribe  of  the 
western  lands,  abandoning  to  the  new  Western  States  their 
own  proportion  of  the  public  property  and  aiding  them  in  the 
design  of  grasping  all  the  lands  into  tlieir  own  hands.  Thomas 
H.  Benton  was  the  author  of  this  system,  which  he  brought 
forward  as  a  substitute  for  the  American  system  of  Mr.  Clay, 
and  to  supplant  him  as  the  leading  statesman  of  the  West. 
Mr.  Clay,  by  his  tariff  compromise  with  Mr.  Calhoun,  aban- 
doned his  own  American  system.  At  the  same  time  he  brought 
forward  a  plan  for  distributing  among  all  the  States  of  the 
Union  the  proceeds  of  the  sales  of  the  public  lands.  His  bill 
for  that  purpose  passed  both  Houses  of  Congress,  but  was 
vetoed  by  President  Jackson,  who,  in  his  annual  message  of 
December,  1832,  formally  recommended  that  all  public  lands 
should  be  gratuitously  given  away  to  individual  adventurers 
and  to  the  States  in  which  the  lands  are  situated.* 

"Ko  subject,"  said  Henry  Clay,  "which  has  presented  itself 
to  the  present,  or  perhaps  any  preceding.  Congress,  is  of  greater 
magnitude  than  that  of  the  public  lands."  When  we  consider 
the  far-reaching  effects  of  the  Government's  land  policy  upon 
political,  economic,  and  social  aspects  of  American  life,  we  are 
disposed  to  agree  with  him.  But  this  legislation  was  framed 
under  frontier  influences,  and  under  the  lead  of  Western  states- 
men like  Benton  and  Jackson.  Said  Senator  Scott  of  Indiana 
in  1841:  "I  consider  the  preemption  law  merely  declaratory 
of  the  custom  or  common  law  of  the  settlers." 

^—       NATIONAL   TENDENCIES   OF   THE   FRONTIER. 

It  is  safe  to  say  that  the  legislation  with  regard  to  land, 
tariff,  and  internal  improvements — the  American  system  of  the 
nationalizing  Whig  party — was  conditioned  on  frontier  ideas 
and  needs.  But  it  was  not  merely  in  legislative  action  that 
the  frontier  worked  against  the  sectionalism  of  the  coast. 
The  economic  and  social  characteristics  of  the  frontier  worked 
against  sectionalism.  The  men  of  the  frontier  had  closer 
resemblances  to  the  Middle  region  than  to  either  of  the  other 
sections.  Pennsylvania  had  been  the  seed-plot  of  frontier 
emigration,  and,  although  she  passed  on  her  settlers  along  the 

*  Adams  Memoirs,  ix,  pp.  247,  248. 


220 


AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 


Great  Yalley  into  the  west  of  Yirginia  and  tlie  Carolinas,  yet 
the  industrial  society  of  these  Southern  frontiersmen  was 
always  more  like  that  of  the  Middle  region  than  like  that  of 
the  tide- water  portion  of  the  South,  which  later  came  to  spread 
its  industrial  type  throughout  the  South. 

The  Middle  region,  entered  by  Few  York  harbor,  was  an 
open  door  to  all  Europe.  The  tide-water  part  of  the  South 
represented  tji)ical  Englishmen,  modified  by  a  warm  climate 
and  servile  labor,  and  living  in  baronial  fashion  on  great  plan- 
tations; Kew  England  stood  for  a  special  English  movement- 
Puritanism.  The  Middle  region  was  less  English  than  the 
other  sections.  It  had  a  wide  mixture  of  nationalities,  a  varied 
society,  the  mixed  town  and  county  system  of  local  govern- 
ment, a  varied  economic  life,  many  religious  sects.  In  short,  it 
was  a  region  mediating  between  New  England  and  the  South, 
and  the  East  and  the  West.  It  represented  that  composite 
nationality  which  the  contemporary  United  States  exhibits, 
that  juxtaposition  of  non-English  groups,  occupying  a  valley 
or  a  little  settlement,  and  presenting  reflections  of  the  map  of 
Europe  in  their  variety.  It  was  democratic  and  nonsectional, 
if  not  national ;  "  easy,  tolerant,  and  contented ; "  rooted  strongly 
in  material  prosperity.  It  was  typical  of  the  modern  United 
States.  It  was  least  sectional,  not  only  because  it  lay  between 
North  and  South,  but  also  because  with  no  barriers  to  shut 
out  its  frontiers  from  its  settled  region,  and  with  a  system  of 
connecting  waterways,  the  Middle  region  mediated  between 
East  and  West  as  well  as  between  North  and  South.  Thus  it 
became  the  typically  American  region.  Even  the  New  Eng- 
lander,  who  was  shut  out  from  the  frontier  by  the  Middle 
region,  tarrying  in  New  York  or  Pennsylvania  on  his  west- 
ward march,  lost  the  acuteness  of  his  sectionalism  on  the  way.* 
The  spread  of  cotton  culture  into  the  interior  of  the  South 
finally  broke  down  the  contrast  between  the  "tide- water" 
J  region  and  the  rest  of  the  State,  and  based  Southern  interests 
on  slavery.  Before  this  process  revealed  its  results  the  west- 
ern portion  of  the  South,  which  was  akin  to  Pennsylvania  in 
stock,  society,  and  industry,  showed  tendencies  to  fall  away 
from  the  faith  of  the  fathers  into  internal  improvement  legisla- 
tion and  nationalism.  In  the  Yirginia  convention  of  1829-'30, 
called  to  revise  the  constitution,  Mr.  Leigh,  of  Chesterfield, 
one  of  the  tide-water  counties,  declared : 

"Author's  article  in  The  ^Egis  (Madison,  Wis.),  November  4, 1892. 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY TURNER. 


221 


v/ 


'  One  of  the  main  causes  of  discontent  wliich  led  to  this  convention,  that 
'  which  had  the  strongest  influence  in  overcoming  our  veneration  for  the 
work  of  our  fathers,  which  taught  us  to  contemn  the  sentiments  of  Henry 
and  Mason  and  Pendleton,  which  weaned  us  from  our  reverence  for  the 
constituted  authorities  of  the  State,  was  an  overweening  passion  for 
internal  improvement.  I  say  this  with  perfect  knowledge,  for  it  has  been 
avowed  to  me  by  gentlemen  from  the  West  over  and  over  again.  And  let 
me  tell  the  gentleman  from  Albemarle  (Mr.  Gordon)  that  it  has  been 
another  principal  object  of  those  Avho  set  this  ball  of  revolution  in  motion, 
to  overturn  the  doctrine  of  State  rights,  of  which  Virginia  has  been  the 
very  pillar,  and  to  remove  the  barrier  she  has  interposed  to  the  interfer- 
ence of  the  Federal  Government  in  that  same  work  of  internal  improve- 
ment, by  so  reorganizing  the  legislature  that  Virginia,  too,  may  be  hitched 
to  the  Federal  car. 

f  It  was  this  nationalizing  tendency  of  the  West  that  trans- 
formed the  democracy  of  Jefferson  into  the  national  republic- 
anism of  Monroe  and  the  democracy  of  Andrew  Jackson.  The 
West  of  the  war  of  1812,  the  West  of  Clay,  and  Benton,  and 
Harrison,  and  Andrew  Jackson,  shut  off  by  the  Middle  States 
and  the  mountains  from  the  coast  sections,  had  a  solidarity  of 
its  own  with  national  tendencies.*  On  ti^e  tide  of  the  Father 
of  Waters,  !North  and  South  met  and  mingled  into  a  nation. 
Interstate  migrationjwent  steadily  on — a_process  of  cross-fer- 
tiiizationjofideas  and  institiitlons  The  fierce  struggle  of  the 
sections  over  slavery  on  the  western  frontier  does  not  dimin- 
ish the  truth  of  this  statement;  it  x)roves  the  truth  of  it.  Slav- 
ery was  a  sectional  trait  that  would  not  down,  but  in  the  West 
it  could  not  remain  sectional.  It  was  the  greatest  of  fron- 
tiersmen who  declared:  ''I  believe  this  Government  can  not 
endure  permanently  half  slave  and  half  free.  It  will  become 
all  of  one  thing  or  all  of  the  other."  Notlnjo^works  for  nation- 
alism like  intercourse  within  the  nation.  IVIobility  of  popula- 
tion js^eatE^^To^l^m,  and  the  western  frontier  worked  irre- 
^istibly^  in  unsettling  _gopuiation.  The  effects  reached  back 
from  the  frontier~and  a]^cted  profoundly  the  Atlantic  coast 
and  even  the  Old  World. 


GROWTH   OF   DEMOCRACY. 

But  the  most  important  effect  of  the  frontier  has  been  in  the 
promotion  of  democracy  here  and  in  Europe.  As  has  been 
indicated,  the  frontier  is  productive  of  individualism.  Com- 
plex society  is  precipitated  by  the  wilderness  into  a  kiud  of 

*  Compare  Roosevelt,  Thomas  Benton,  ch.  i. 


222  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

primitive  organization  based  on  tlie  family.  The  tendency  is 
anti- social.  It  produces  antipathy  to  control,  and  particularly 
to  any  direct  control.  The  tax-gatherer  is  viewed  as  a  repre- 
sentative of  oppression.  Prof.  Osgood,  in  an  able  article,*  has 
pointed  out  that  the  frontier  conditions  prevalent  in  the  colo- 
nies are  important  factors  in  the  explanation  of  the  American 
Eevolution,  where  individual  liberty  was  sometimes  confused 
with  absence  of  all  effective  government.  The  same  conditions 
aid  in  explaining  the  difficulty  of  instituting  a  strong  govern- 
ment in  the  period  of  the  confederacy.  The  frontier  individu- 
alism has  from  the  beginning  promoted  democracy. 

The  frontier  States  that  came  into  the  Union  in  the  first  quar- 
ter of  a  century  of  its  existence  came  in  with  democratic  suffrage 
provisions,  and  had  reactive  effects  of  the  highest  importance 
,  upon  the  older  States  whose  peoples  were  being  attracted  there. 
An  extension  of  the  franchise  became  essential.  It  was  western 
New  York  that  forced  an  extension  of  suffrage  in  the  constitu- 
tional convention  of  that  State  in  1821 5  and  it  was  western 
Virginia  that  compelled  the  tide- water  region  to  put  a  more 
liberal  suffrage  provision  in  the  constitution  framed  in  1830, 
and  to  give  to  the  frontier  region  a  more  nearly  proportionate 
representation  with  the  tide-water  aristocracy.  The  rise  of 
democracy  as  an  effective  force  in  the  nation  came  in  with 
western  preponderance  under  Jackson  and  William  Henry 
Harrison,  and  it  meant  the  triumph  of  the  frontier — with  all 
of  its  good  and  with  all  of  its  evil  elements.!  An  interesting 
illustration  of  the  tone  of  frontier  democracy  in  1830  comes 
from  the  same  debates  in  the  Virginia  convention  already 
referred  to.    A  representative  from  western  Virginia  declared : 

But,  sir,  it  is  not  tlie  increase  of  population  in  the  West  -which  this 
gentleman  ought  to  fear.  It  is  the  energy  which  the  mountain  breeze  and 
western  habits  impart  to  those  emigrants.  They  are  regenerated,  politi- 
cally I  mean,  sir.  They  soon  become  worMng  politicians;  and  the  difference, 
sir,  between  a  talking  and  a  working  politican  is  immense.  The  Old  Do- 
minion has  long  been  celebrated  for  producing  great  orators ;  the  ablest 
metaphysicians  in  policy;  men  that  can  split  hairs  in  all  abstruse  ques- 
tions of  political  economy.  But  at  home,  or  when  they  return  from  Con- 
gress, they  have  negroes  to  fan  them  asleep.  But  a  Pennsylvania,  a  New 
York,  an  Ohio,  or  a  western  Virginia  statesman,  though  far  inferior  in 
logic,  metaphysics,  and  rhetoric  to  an  old  Virginia  statesman,  has  this 
advantage,  that  when  he  returns  home  he  takes  off  his  coat  and  takes  hold 

*  Political  Science  Quarterly,  ii,  p.  457.  Compare  Sumner,  Alexander 
Hamilton,  Chs.  ii-vii. 

t Compare  Wilson,  Division  and  Reunion,  pp.  15,  24. 


FRONTIER    IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.        223 

of  tlie  plow.     This  gives  him  bone  and  muscle,  sir,   and  preserves  his 
republican  principles  pure  and  uncontaminated. 

So  long  as  free  land  exists,  the  opportunity  for  a  competency- 
exists,  and  economic  power  secures  political  power.  But  the 
democracy  born  of  free  land,  strong  in  selfishness  and  individu- 
alism, intolerant  of  administrative  experience  and  education, 
and  pressing  individual  liberty  beyond  its  proper  bounds,  has 
its  dangers  as  well  as  it  benefits.  Individualism  in  America 
has  allowed  a  laxity  in  regard  to  governmental  affairs  which 
has  rendered  possible  the  spoils  system  and  all  the  manifest 
evils  that  follow  from  the  lack  of  a  highly  developed  civic 
spirit.  In  this  connection  may  be  noted  also  the  influence  of 
frontier  conditions  in  permitting  lax  business  honor,  inflated 
paper  currency  and  wild-cat  banking.  The  colonial  and  rev- 
olutionary frontier  was  the  region  whence  emanated  many  of 
the  worst  forms  of  an  evil  currency.*  The  West  in  the  war  of 
1812  repeated  the  phenomenon  on  the  frontier  of  that  day,  while 
the  speculation  and  wild-cat  banking  of  the  period  of  the  crisis 
of  1837  occurred  on  the  new  frontier  belt  of  the  next  tier  of 
States.  Thus  each  one  of  the  periods  of  lax  financial  integrity 
coincides  with  periods  when  a  new  set  of  frontier  communities 
had  arisen,  and  coincides  in  area  with  these  successive  frontiers, 
for  the  most  part.  The  recent  Populist  agitation  is  a  case  in 
point.  Many  a  State  that  now  declines  any  connection  with 
the  tenets  of  the  Populists,  itself  adhered  to  such  ideas  in  an 
earlier  stage  of  the  development  of  the  State.  A  primitive 
society  can  hardly  be  expected  to  show  the  intelligent  apprecia- 
tion of  the  complexity  of  business  interests  in  a  developed 
society.  The  continual  recurrence  of  these  areas  of  paper- 
money  agitation  is  another  evidence  that  the  frontier  can  be 
isolated  and  studied  as  a  factor  in  American  history  of  the 
highest  importance,  t 

*  On  the  relation  of  frontier  conditions  to  Revolutionary  taxation,  see 
Sumner,  Alexander  Hamilton,  Ch.  iii. 

1 1  have  refrained  from  dwelling  on  the  lawless  characteristics  of  the  ^^ 
frontier,  because  they  are  sufiSciently  well  known.  The  gambler  and  des- 
perado, the  regulators  of  the  Carolinas  and  the  vigilantes  of  California, 
are  types  of  that  line  of  scum  that  the  waves  of  advancing  civilization 
bore  before  them,  and  of  the  growth  of  spontaneous  organs  of  authority 
where  legal  authority  was  absent.  Compare  Barrows,  United  States  of 
Yesterday  and  To-morrow ;  Shinn,  Mining  Camps ;  and  Bancroft,  Popular 
Tribunals.  The  humor,  bravery,  and  rude  strength,  as  well  as  the  vices 
of  the  frontier  in  its  worst  aspect,  have  left  traces  on  American  character, 
language,  and  literature,  not  soon  to  be  effaced. 


224  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

ATTEMPTS  TO   CHECK  AND  REGULATE  THE  FRONTIER. 

The  East  has  always  feared  the  result  of  an  unregulated 
advance  of  the  frontier,  and  has  tried  to  check  and  guide  it. 
The  English  authorities  would  have  checked  settlement  at 
the  headwaters  of  the  Atlantic  tributaries  and  allowed  the 
"  savages  to  enjoy  their  deserts  in  quiet  lest  the  peltry  trade 
should  decrease."    This  called  out  Burke's  splendid  protest: 

If  you  stopped  your  grants,  what  would  be  the  consequence?  The 
people  would  occupy  without  grants.  They  have  already  so  occupied  in 
many  places.  You  can  not  station  garrisons  in  every  part  of  these  deserts. 
If  you  drive  the  people  from  one  place,  they  will  carry  on  their  annual 
tillage  and  remove  with  their  flocks  and  herds  to  another.  Many  of  the 
people  in  the  back  settlements  are  already  little  attached  to  particular 
situations.  Already  they  have  topped  the  Appalachian  mountains.  From 
thence  they  behold  before  them  an  immense  plain,  one  vast,  rich,  level 
meadow ;  a  square  of  five  hundred  miles.  Over  this  they  would  wander 
without  a  possibility  of  restraint ;  they  would  change  their  manners  with 
their  habits  of  life ;  would  soon  forget  a  government  by  which  they  were 
disowned ;  would  become  hordes  of  English  Tartars ;  and,  pouring  down 
upon  your  unfortified  frontiers  a  fierce  and  irresistible  cavalry,  become 
masters  of  your  governors  and  your  counselors,  your  collectors  and  comp- 
trollers, and  of  all  the  slaves  that  adhered  to  them.  Such  would,  and  in 
no  long  time  must,  be  the  effect  of  attempting  to  forbid  as  a  crime  and  to 
suppress  as  an  evil  the  command  and  blessing  of  Providence,  "  Increase 
and  multiply."  Such  would  be  the  happy  result  of  an  endeavor  to  keep 
as  a  lair  of  wild  beasts  that  earth  which  God,  by  an  express  charter,  has 
given  to  the  children  of  men. 

But  the  English  Government  was  not  alone  in  its  desire  to 
limit  the  advance  of  the  frontier  and  guide  its  destinies.  Tide- 
water Virginia  *  and  South  Carolina  t  gerrymandered  those 
colonies  to  insure  th©  dominance  of  the  coast  in  their  legis- 
latures. Washington  desired  to  settle  a  State  at  a  time  in  the 
Northwest;  Jefferson  would  reserve  from  settlement  the  terri- 
tory of  his  Louisiana  purchase  north  of  the  thirty-second  par- 
allel, in  order  to  offer  it  to  the  Indians  in  exchange  for  their 
settlements  east  of  the  Mississippi.  "  When  we  shall  be  full 
on  this  side,"  he  writes,  ''  we  may  lay  off  a  range  of  States  on 
the  western  bank  from  the  head  to  the  mouth,  and  so  range 
after  range,  advancing  compactly  as  we  multiply."  Madison 
went  so  far  as  to  argue  to  the  French  minister  that  the  United 
States  had  no  interest  in  seeing  population  extend  itself  on 


*  Debates  in  the  Constitutional  Convention,  1829-1830. 
t  [McCrady]  Eminent  and  Representative  Men  of  the  Carolinas,  i,  p.43j 
Calhoun's  Works,  i,  pp.  401-406. 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY TURNER.        225 

the  right  bank  of  the  Mississippi,  but  should  rather  fear  it. 
When  the  Oregon  question  was  under  debate,  in  1824,  Smyth, 
of  Virginia,  would  draw  an  unchangeable  line  for  the  limits  of 
the  CTnited  States  at  the  outer  limit  of  two  tiers  of  States 
beyond  the  Mississippi,  complaining  that  the  seaboard  States 
were  being  drained  of  the  flower  of  their  population  by  the 
bringing,  of  too  much  land  into  market.  Even  Thomas  Benton, 
the  man  of  widest  views  of  the  destiny  of  the  West,  at  this 
stage  of  his  career  declared  that  along  the  ridge  of  the  Kocky 
mountains  "the  western  limits  of  the  Eepublic  should  be 
drawn,  and  the  statue  of  the  fabled  god  Terminus  should  be 
raised  upon  its  highest  peak,  never  to  be  thrown  down."* 
But  the*attempts  to  limit  the  boundaries,  to  restrict  land  sales 
and  settlement,  and  to  deprive  the  West  of  its  share  of  political 
power  were  all  in  vain.  Steadily  the  frontier  of  settlement 
advanced  and  carried  with  it  individualism,  democracy,  and 
nationalism,  and  powerfully  affected  the  East  and  the  Old 
World. 

MISSIONARY  ACTIVITY. 

The  most  effective  efforts  of  the  East  to  regulate  the  frontier 
came  through  its  educational  and  religious  activity,  exerted  by 
interstate  migration  and  by  organized  societies.  Speaking  in 
1835,  Dr.  Lyman  Beecher  declared:  ''It  is  equally  plain  that 
the  religious  and  political  destiny  of  our  nation  is  to  be  decided 
in  the  West,"  and  he  pointed  out  that  the  population  of  the 
West  "is  assembled  from  all  the  States  of  the  Union  and 
from  all  the  nations  of  Europe,  and  is  rushing  in  like  the  waters 
of  the  flood,  demanding  for  its  moral  preservation  the  imme- 
diate and  universal  action  of  those  institutions  which  disci- 
pline the  mind  and  arm  the  conscience  and  the  heart.  And  so 
various  are  the  opinions  and  habits,  and  so  recent  and  im- 
perfect is  the  acquaintance,  and  so  sparse  are  the  settlements 
of  the  West,  that  no  homogeneous  public  sentiment  can  be 
formed  to  legislate  immediately  into  being  the  requisite  insti- 
tutions. And  yet  they  are  all  needed  immediately  in  their 
utmost  perfection  and  power.  A  nation  is  being  'born  in  a 
day.'  *  *  *  But  what  will  become  of  the  West  if  her  pros- 
perity rushes  up  to  such  a  majesty  of  power,  while  those  great 
institutions  linger  which  are  necessary  to  form  the  mind  and 
the  conscience  and  the  heart  of  that  vast  world.    It  must  not 


Speech  in  the  Senate,  March  1,  1825  j  Register  of  Debates,  i,  721. 
S.  Mis.  101 15 


226  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

be  permitted.    *     =*     *     Let  no  man  at  tlie  East  quiet  himself 
and  dream  of  liberty,  whatever  may  become  of  the  West. 

*    *    *    Her  destiny  is  our  destiny."  * 

With  the  appeal  to  the  conscience  of  Kew  England,  he  adds 
appeals  to  her  fears  lest  other  religious  sects  anticipate  her 
own.  The  l^ew  England  preacher  and  school-teacher  left  their 
mark  on  the  West.  The  dread  of  Western  emancipation  from 
l!^ew  England's  political  and  economic  control  was  paralled  by 
her  fears  lest  the  West  cut  loose  from  her  religion.  Com- 
menting in  1850  on  reports  that  settlement  was  rapidly 
extending  northward  in  Wisconsin,  the  editor  of  the  Home 
Missionary  writes:  "We  scarcely  know  whether  to  rejoice  or 
mourn  over  this  extension  of  our  settlements.  While  we  sym- 
pathize in  whatever  tends  to  increase  the  physical  resources 
and  prosperity  of  our  country,  we  can  not  forget  that  with  all 
these  dispersions  into  remote  and  still  remoter  corners  of  the 
land  the  supply  of  the  means  of  grace  is  becoming  relatively 
less  and  less."  Acting  in  accordance  with  such  ideas,  home 
missions  were  established  and  Western  colleges  were  erected. 
As  seaboard  cities  like  Philadelphia,  IS^ew  York,  and  Baltimore 
strove  for  the  mastery  of  Western  trade,  so  the  various  denomi- 
nations strove  for  the  possession  of  the  West.  Thus  an 
intellectual  stream  from  New  England  sources  fertilized  the 
West.  Other  sections  sent  their  missionaries  j  but  the  real 
struggle  was  between  sects.  The  contest  for  power  and  the 
expansive  tendency  furnished  to  the  various  sects  by  the  ex- 
istence of  a  moving  frontier  must  have  had  important  results 
on  the  character  of  religious  organization  in  the  United  States. 
The  multiplication  of  rival  churches  in  the  little  frontier 
towns  had  deep  and  lasting  social  effects.  The  religious 
aspects  of  the  frontier  make  a  chapter  in  our  history  which  ^' 

needs  study. 

INTELLECTUAL  TRAITS. 

From  the  conditions  of  frontier  life  came  intellectual  traits 
of  profound  importance.  The  works  of  travelers  along  each 
frontier  from  colonial  days  onward  describe  certain  common 
traits,  and  these  traits  have,  while  softening  down,  still  per- 
sisted as  survivals  in  the  place  of  their  origin,  even  when  a 
higher  social  organization  succeeded.  The  result  is  that  to  the 
frontier  the  American  intellect  owes  its  striking  characteristics. 
That  coarseness  and  strength  combined  with  acuteness  and 

*Plea  for  the  West  (Cincinnati,  1835),  pp.  11  jff. 


t 


FRONTIER   IN   AMERICAN   HISTORY — TURNER.        227 

inquisitiveness;  that  practical,  inventive  turn  of  mind,  quick 
to  find  expedients  5  that  masterful  grasp  of  material  things, 
lacking  in  the  artistic  but  powerful  to  effect  great  ends  5  that 
restless,  nervous  energy;*  that  dominant  individualism,  work- 
ing for  good  and  for  evil,  and  withal  that  buoyancy  and  exuber- 
ance which  comes  with  freedom — these  are  traits  of  the  frontier, 
or  timts-called  out  elsewhere  because  of  the  existence,  of  the 
froutieEi,  Since  the  days  when  the  fleet  of  Columbus  sailed 
into  the  waters  of  the  IN'ew  World,  America  has  been  another 
name  for  opportunity,  and  the  people  of  the  United  States 
have  taken  their  tone  from  the  incessant  expansion  which  has 
not  only  been  open  but  has  even  been  forced  upon  them.  He 
would  be  a  rash  prophet  who  should  assert  that  the  expansive 
character  of  American  life  has  now  entirely  ceased.  Move- 
ment has  been  its  dominant  fact,  and,  unless  this  training  has 
no  effect  upon  a  people,  the  American  energy  will  continually 
demand  a  wider  field  for  its  exercise.  But  never  again  will 
such  gifts  of  free  land  offer  themselves.  For  a  moment,  at  the 
frontier,  the  bonds  of  custom  are  broken  and  unrestraint  is 
triumphant.  There  is  not  tabula  rasa.  The  stubborn  Ameri- 
can environment  is  there  with  its  imperious  summons  to  accept 
its  conditions ;  the  inherited  ways  of  doing  things  are  also  there; 
and  yet,  in  spite  of  environment,  and  in  spite  of  custom,  each 
frontier  did  indeed  furnish  a  new  field  of  opportunity,  a  gate 
of  escape  from  the  bondage  of  the  past;  and  freshness,  and 
confidence,  and  scorn  of  older  society,  impatience  of  its  restraints 
and  its  ideas,  and  indifference  to  its  lessons,  have  accompanied 
the  frontier.  What  the  Mediterranean  Sea  was  to  the  Greeks, 
breaking  the  bond  of  custom,  offering  new  experiences,  calling 
out  new  institutions  and  activities,  that,  and  more,  the  ever 
retreating  frontier  has  been  to  the  United  States  directly,  and 
to  the  nations  of  Europe  more  remotely.  And  now,  four  cen- 
turies from  the  discovery  of  America,  at  the  end  of  a  hundred 
years  of  life  under  the  Constitution,  the  frontier  has  gone,  and 
with  its  going  has  closed  the  first  period  of  American  history. 

*  Colonial  travelers  agree  in  remarking  on  tlie  phlegmatic  character- 
istics of  the  colonists.  It  has  frequently  been  asked  how  such  a  people 
could  have  developed  that  strained  nervous  energy  now  characteristic  of 
them.  Compare  Sumner,  Alexander  Hamilton,  p.  98,  and  Adams's  History 
of  the  United  States,  i,  p.  60;  ix,  pp.240,  241.  The  transition  appears  to 
become  marked  at  the  close  of  the  war  of  1812,  a  period  when  interest 
centered  upon  the  development  of  the  West,  and  the  West  was  noted  for 
restless  energy.    Grund,  Americans,  11.,  ch.  i. 


X1X.-R0GER  SHERMAN  IN  THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION. 


By  LE^A^^IS  HENRY  BOUTELL,  LL.  D., 
OF  CHICAGO. 


229 


4 


ROGER  SHERMAN  IN  THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION. 


By  Lewis  Henry  Boutell 


The  convention  which  framed  our  national  constitution  was 
about  equally  divided  between  the  advocates  of  a  national  and 
the  advocates  of  a  confederate  government.  The  great  bat- 
tle between  these  parties  was  fought  over  the  question  of 
representation  in  the  national  legislature.  The  details  of  that 
struggle  and  the  compromise  in  which  it  ended  have  an  un- 
failing interest  for  the  student  of  political  history.  They  have 
a  fresh  interest,  at  the  present  time,  from  the  attempt  recently 
made  in  Congress  to  change  the  method  of  electing  Senators, 
and  from  certain  misstatements  made  in  a  recent  biographical 
work  as  to  the  authorship  of  that  compromise. 

The  misstatements  to  which  I  refer  are  found  in  Dr.  Still^'s 
very  interesting  life  of  John  Dickinson.  Dr.  Stille  claims  for 
Mr.  Dickinson  the  honor  of  introducing  and  securing  the 
adoption  in  the  Federal  Convention  of  1787  of  the  provision 
giving  the  States  an  equal  representation  in  the  Senate.  In 
proof  of  this  claim.  Dr.  Stills  states  that  the  convention 
"decided  unanimously,  on  the  7th  of  June,  on  the  motion  of 
Mr.  Dickinson,  that  the  m  embers  of  that  body  [the  Senate] 
should  be  chosen,  two  for  each  State,  by  its  legislature." 

An  examination  of  Madison^s  report  of  the  Debates  in  the 
Federal  Convention  shows  that  every  part  of  this  statement 
is  incorrect.  Mr.  Dickinson  did  not  make  the  motion  at- 
tributed to  him,  on  the  7th  of  June,  or  at  any  other  time.  The 
motion  made  by  Mr.  Dickinson,  on  the  7th  of  June,  related 
simply  to  the  manner  in  which  Senators  should  be  chosen,  and 
had  no  reference  whatever  to  the  number  of  Senators  from 
each  State. 

Mr.  Dickinson's  motion  was  'Hhat  the  members  of  the  second 
branch  [the  Senate]  ought  to  be  chosen  by  the  individual 
legislatures."  He  said  he  "  had  two  reasons  for  this  motion," 
first,   because  the  sense  of  the  States  would  be  better  col- 

231 


232  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

lected  througli  their  governments  tlian  immediately  from  the 
people  at  large;  secondly,  because  he  wished  the  Senate  to 
consist  of  the  most  distinguished  characters,  distinguished 
for  their  rank  in  life  and  their  weight  of  property,  and  bearing 
as  strong  a  likeness  to  the  British  House  of  Lords  as  possible; 
and  he  thought  such  characters  more  likely  to  be  selected  by 
the  State  legislatures  than  in  any  other  mode.  In  reply  to 
Mr.  Pinckney's  objection  that  "if  the  small  States  should  be 
allowed  one  Senator  only  the  number  will  be  too  great,  there 
will  be  eighty  at  least,"  Mr.  Dickinson  said  the  greatness  of 
the  number  was  no  objection  with  him.  He  hoped  there 
would  be  eighty  and  twice  eighty  of  them.  If  their  number 
should  be  small,  the  popular  branch  could  not  be  balanced  by 
them.  The  legislature  of  a  numerous  people  ought  to  be  a 
numerous  body. 

The  proposition  to  give  the  States  an  equal  vote  in  the  Senate 
was  not  made  till  June  11,  and  then  it  was  made,  not  by  Mr. 
Dickinson, but  by  Eoger  Sherman.  It  was  at  first  voted  down, 
and  not  until  after  a  long  and  severe  controversy  was  the  propo- 
sition adopted.  It  was  adopted  at  last,  by  a  vote  of  5  to  4,  on 
the  16th  of  July.  The  number  of  Senators  from  each  State  was 
fixed  at  two  on  the  23d  of  July,  and  at  the  same  time  it  was 
decided  that  the  Senators  should  vote  per  capita. 

In  the  debate  on  this  subject  Mr.  Dickinson  took  no  part. 
On  every  occasion,  from  first  to  last,  Mr.  Sherman  was  the 
champion  of  the  equal  representation  of  the  States  in  the  Senate. 
The  only  occasion  on  which  Mr.  Dickinson  spoke  on  this  sub- 
ject in  the  convention  was  on  June  2,  when,  the  executive  be- 
ing under  discussion,  he  incidentally  remarked,  as  to  the  point 
of  representation  in  the  National  Legislature,  as  it  might  affect 
States  of  different  sizes,  that  it  must  probably  end  in  mutual 
concession.  He  hoped  that  each  State  would  retain  an  equal 
voice,  at  least  in  one  branch  of  the  National  Legislature.  But 
two  days  before  this,  on  the  31st  of  May,  when  the  method  of 
choosing  Senators  was  under  discussion,  Mr.  Sherman  favored 
an  election  of  one  member  by  each  of  the  State  legislatures. 

The  position  taken  by  Mr.  Sherman  on  this  subject  was  not  a 
new  one  with  him.  Eleven  years  before,  as  a  member  of  the 
Continental  Congress,  he  advocated  a  representation  in  Con- 
gress of  both  population  and  States.  On  the  12th  of  July, 
1776,  Mr.  Dickinson,  on  behalf  of  the  Committee  on  Articles 
of  Confederation,  reported  a  plan  in  which  it  was  provided 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION — BOUTELL. 


233 


that  "in  determining  questions  each  colony  shall  have  one 
vote."  This  clause  being  under  debate,  on  August  1, 1776,  it 
was  strongly  opposed  by  Benjamin  Franklin,  John  Adams,  and 
others,  as  unjust  to  the  larger  States.  Eepresentation,  they 
insisted,  should  be  in  j)roportion  to  taxation.  As  a  compromise 
of  the  conflicting  claims  of  the  large  and  small  States,  Eoger 
Sherman  proposed  that  there  should  be  a  representation  both 
of  States  and  of  population.  His  position  is  thus  stated  in  the 
account  of  the  debates  in  John  Adams's  diary  (2  Adams's 
Works,  499) : 

Sliermaa  thinks  we  ought  not  to  vote  according  to  numbers.  We  are 
representatives  of  States,  not  individuals.  States  of  Holland.  The  con- 
sent of  every  one  is  necessary.  Three  colonies  would  govern  the  whole, 
but  would  not  have  a  majority  of  strength  to  carry  their  votes  into  execu- 
tion. The  vote  should  be  taken  two  ways;  call  the  colonies  and  call  the 
individuals,  and  have  a  majority  of  both. 

Here  we  have,  in  substance,  the  great  compromise  of  the 
Constitution  between  the  large  and  the  small  States.  This 
was  the  first  expression  of  this  plan,  and  the  merit  of  originat- 
ing it  belongs  to  Eoger  Sherman.  As  Mr.  Sherman  in  the 
Federal  Convention  represented  a  State  intermediate  in  popu- 
lation between  the  largest  and  the  smallest  States,  he  stood  in 
a  position  to  be  influential  with  both.  Although  he  and  his 
associates  from  Connecticut  were  disposed  to  preserve  to  the 
States  as  much  of  their  sovereignty  as  possible,  he  was  always 
amenable  to  reason,  and  was  fruitful  in  resources  to  harmonize 
conflicting  views.  This  can  not  be  better  illustrated  than  by 
a  review  of  the  debates  in  the  Federal  Convention  on  repre- 
sentation in  the  IS'ational  Legislature. 

The  debates  in  the  Federal  Convention  divide  themselves 
into  three  distinct  periods : 

First.  The  debates  in  the  Committee  of  the  Whole  on  the 
state  of  the  Union,  which  extended  from  May  30  to  June  19. 

From  May  30  to  June  13  the  committee  had  under  consider- 
ation the  fifteen  resolutions  of  Eandolph,  containing  the  lead- 
ing principles  which  he  thought  should  prevail  in  a  National 
Constitution. 

On  June  13  the  committee  reported  in  favor  of  the  Eandolph 
resolutions  as  they  had  been  amended  in  debate.  This  may  be 
called  the  national  plan. 

On  June  15  Mr.  Patterson  presented  the  resolutions  known 
as  the  New  Jersey  or  confederate  plan.    This  plan  was  referred 


234  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

to  the  Committee  of  tlie  Whole  and  the  national  plan  recom- 
mitted. These  plans  were  debated  till  June  19,  when  the  com- 
mittee voted  to  rise  and  report  in  favor  of  the  national  plan. 

Second.  The  second  period  consisted  of  the  debates  in  the 
convention  on  the  national  plan,  which  extended  from  June  19 
to  July  26,  when  a  committee  of  detail  of  five  members  was 
appointed  to  prepare  and  report  a  Constitution  conformable 
to  the  twenty  three  resolutions  adopted  by  the  convention. 

Third.  The  debates  in  the  convention  on  the  detailed  plan, 
which  extended  from  August  6  to  September  16,  when  the  Con- 
stitution was  adopted.  On  September  17  a  few  changes  were 
made,  the  Constitution  signed,  and  the  convention  adjourned. 

In  the  first  period,  which  lasted  only  twenty  days,  the  debates 
were  brief  and  comparatively  calm. 

In  the  second  period,  which  lasted  thirty-seven  days,  the 
great  struggle  between  the  national  and  confederate  parties 
took  place,  which  ended  in  the  adoption  of  the  compromise 
plan. 

In  the  third  period,  which  lasted  forty-two  days,  the  debate 
on  details,  which  exhibited  great  diversity  of  opinion,  was  con- 
ducted without  asperity.  The  slavery  question  excited  a 
momentary  feeling,  but  was  soon  disposed  of. 

I  have  spoken  of  the  members  of  the  convention  as  divided 
into  two  opposite  parties — those  who  favored  a  strong  and 
those  who  favored  a  weak  general  government,  or,  as  we  may 
for  convenience  call  them,  nationalists  and  confederates.  But 
these  parties  were  not  organized  like  modern  political  parties. 
They  did  not  vote  solidly  according  to  a  scheme  prearranged 
by  a  caucus.  Indeed,  they  had  no  organization  at  all.  More 
independent  men  never  met  together.  Each  man  spoke  and 
voted  according  to  his  individual  convictions.  Those  who 
agreed  on  one  point  were  often  at  variance  on  others  equally 
important.  There  were  all  shades  of  nationalists  and  all 
shades  of  confederates,  and  some  were  partly  the  one  and 
partly  the  other. 

The  leaders  of  the  nationalists  were  Hamilton,  Madison, 
Wilson,  and  Gouverneur  Morris.  The  leaders  of  the  confed- 
erates were  Patterson,  Lansing,  and  Luther  Martin.  Those 
most  active  in  effecting  compromises  between  the  contending 
parties  were  Sherman,  Franklin,  Dickinson,  and  Gerry. 

The  point  on  which  there  was  the  bitterest  and  most  pro- 
longed controversy  was,  as  I  have  stated,  the  rule  of  suffrage 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION — BOUTELL.     235 

in  tlie  legislature.  The  resolution  on  this  subject  was  the  sec- 
ond on  Mr.  Eandolph's  list.  But  when  it  was  reached,  at  the 
request  of  Mr.  Eead,  of  Delaware,  the  consideration  of  it  was 
postponed,  "  as  the  deputies  from  Delaware  were  restrained  by 
their  commission  from  assenting  to  any  change  in  the  rule  of 
suffrage,  and  in  case  such  a  change  should  be  fixed  on  it  might 
become  their  duty  to  retire  from  the  convention." 

Accordingly  the  second  resolution  was  not  taken  up  till  the 
other  resolutions  had  been  acted  upon.  This  second  resolution 
provided  ^^that  the  rights  of  suffrage  in  the  national  legislature 
ought  to  be  proportioned  to  the  quotas  of  contribution,  or  to 
the  number  of  free  inhabitants,  as  the  one  or  the  other  rule  may 
seem  best  in  different  cases."  On  the  9th  of  June  the  debate 
on  the  second  resolution  began.  Mr.  Briarly  and  Mr.  Patterson, 
of  I^ew  Jersey,  spoke  in  opposition  and  Mr.  Wilson  in  favor  of 
it.    On  June  11  the  debate  was  resumed. 

Mr.  Sherman  proposed  that  the  proportion  of  suffrage  in  the 
first  branch  (the  House  of  Representatives)  should  be  according 
to  the  respective  numbers  of  free  inhabitants  j  and  that  in  the 
second  branch,  or  Senate,  each  State  should  have  one  vote  and 
no  more.  He  said,  as  the  States  would  remain  possessed  of  cer- 
tain individual  rights,  each  State  ought  to  be  able  to  protect 
itself;  otherwise  a  few  large  States  will  rule  the  rest.  The 
House  of  Lords  in  England,  he  observed,  had  certain  particular 
rights  under  the  Constitution  and  hence  they  have  an  equal 
vote  with  the  House  of  Commons,  that  they  may  be  able  to 
defend  their  rights. 

This  was  the  first  presentation  of  that  plan  of  compromise 
by  which  the  conflicting  claims  of  the  large  and  the  small 
States  were  finally  adjusted.  It  was  modified  in  some  of  its 
details,  as  we  shall  hereafter  see,  but  the  compromise,  as  finally 
adopted,  was,  in  substance,  representation  according  to  popu- 
lation in  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  equal  representa- 
tion of  the  States  in  the  Senate.  Roger  Sherman  was  thus 
the  first  to  propose  this  important  compromise,  and  his  merit 
consists  in  this,  that  while  the  advocates  of  a  strong  general 
government  were  in  favor  of  a  representation  in  both  houses 
of  the  legislature  based  on  population,  and  the  advocates  of  a 
weak  general  government  were  in  favor  of  an  equal  represent- 
ation of  the  States  in  both  houses,  Sherman,  though  sympa- 
thizing with  the  latter  class,  saw,  at  this  early  day,  that  it 
would  be  impossible  to  form  a  general  government  unless  each 


236  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

side  yielded  a  portion  of  its  claims.  The  national  principle 
must  prevail  in  one  house  and  the  confederate  principle  in  the 
other.  To  Koger  Sherman  belongs  the  credit,  not  only  of 
introducing  this  compromise  in  the  convention,  but  also  of 
bearing  the  brunt  of  the  contest  in  its  favor,  through  a  long 
and  severe  struggle,  till  it  was  finally  adopted. 

After  a  brief  discussion,  it  was  decided  by  a  vote  of  9  to  2 
that  representation  in  the  House  should  be  in  proportion  to 
the  whole  number  of  free  inhabitants  and  three-fifths  of  the 
slaves.  Ne\7  Jersey  and  Delaware  were  the  only  States  voting 
in  the  negative. 

Mr.  Sherman  then  moved  that  a  question  be  taken  whether 
each  State  shall  have  one  vote  in  the  second  branch.  Every- 
thing, he  said,  depended  on  this.  The  smaller  States  would 
never  agree  to  the  plan  on  any  other  principle  than  an  equality 
of  suffrage  in  this  branch.  Mr.  Ellsworth  seconded  the  motion, 
and  the  vote  was  5  yeas  to  6  nays. 

Mr.  Wilson  then  moved  that  the  right  of  suffrage  in  the 
Senate  ought  to  be  according  to  the  same  rule  as  in  the  first 
branch.    On  this  motion  the  vote  was  6  yeas  to  5  nays. 

In  the  resolutions  reported  to  the  convention  by  the  com- 
mittee of  the  whole,  the  national  principle  prevailed,  except 
in  the  provision  for  electing  the  Senators  by  the  State  legisla- 
tures. The  debate  on  those  resolutions  began  June  20,  and 
then  the  advocates  of  the  confederate  plan  returned  to  the 
contest  with  renewed  vigor.  In  the  committee  of  the  whole 
the  resolution  in  favor  of  two  houses  of  the  legislature  was 
adopted  without  debate.  But  when  that  resolution  came  up  in 
the  convention,  Lansing,  Luther  Martin,  Sherman,  and  W.  S. 
Johnson  made  elaborate  si^eeches  against  it.  The  keynote  of 
the  opposition  to  a  legislature  of  two  houses  was  struck  in  the 
opening  remark  of  Mr.  Lansing,  ^Hhat  the  true  question  here 
was  whether  the  convention  would  adhere  to  or  depart  from 
the  foundation  of  the  present  confederacy." 

Mr.  Sherman,  in  his  speech,  said  that  "he  admitted  two 
branches  to  be  necessary  in  the  State  legislatures,  but  saw  no 
necessity  in  a  confederacy  of  States."  He  closed  his  speech 
with  the  following  remarks : 

If  the  difficulty  on  the  subject  of  representation  can  not  be  otherwise  got 
over,  I  would  agree  to  have  two  branches,  and  a  proportional  representa- 
tion in  one  of  them,  provided  each  State  had  an  equal  voice  in  the  other. 
This  was  necessary  to  secure  the  rights  of  the  lesser  States,  otherwise  three 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION — BOUTELL.     237 

or  four  of  the  large  States  would  rule  the  others  as  they  pleased.  Each 
State,  like  each  individual,  had  its  peculiar  habits,  usages,  and  manners, 
which  constituted  its  happiness.  It  would  not,  therefore,  give  to  others  a 
power  over  this  happiness,  any  more  than  an  individual  would  do,  when  he 
could  avoid  it. 

Mr.  Mason,  Mr.  Wilson,  and  Mr.  Madison  very  ably  sup- 
ported the  resolution;  and  tlie  vote  stood,  yeas  7,  nays  3. 
Maryland  divided.  The  vote  of  Connecticut  was  in  the  affirm- 
ative. 

The  debate  on  the  rules  of  suffrage  in  the  two  tranches 
began  on  June  27  and  was  continued  till  July  16,  when  the 
compromise  plan  was  adopted  by  a  vote  of  5  to  4.  When  the 
debate  had  lasted  two  days,  and  the  prospect  of  harmonious 
action  seemed  to  be  diminishing  rather  than  increasing,  Dr. 
Franklin  moved  that  the  convention  be  opened  each  day  with 
prayer.  This  motion  was  seconded  by  Mr.  Sherman.  It  did 
not  come  to  a  vote,  apparently  from  fear  that  it  might  excite 
alarm  among  the  people. 

On  the  29th  of  June  it  was  decided  by  a  vote  of  6  to  4  that 
the  rule  of  suffrage  in  the  first  branch  (the  House  of  Eepresen- 
tatives)  ought  not  to  be  according  to  that  established  by  the 
Articles  of  Confederation.  Connecticut,  New  York,  Kew  Jersey, 
Delaware  voted  in  the  negative,  and  Maryland  was  divided. 

After  this  vote  was  taken,  Mr.  Ellsworth  moved  that  the 
rule  of  suffrage  in  the  second  branch  (the  Senate)  be  the  same 
with  that  established  by  the  Articles  of  Confederation.  Mr. 
Baldwin,  of  Georgia,  ^'thought  the  second  branch  ought  to  be 
the  representation  of  property,  and  that  in  forming  it,  there- 
fore, some  reference  ought  to  be  had  to  the  relative  wealth  of 
their  constituents,  and  to  the  principles  on  which  the  senate 
of  Massachusetts  was  constituted." 

The  debate  on  Mr.  Ellsworth's  motion  was  resumed  on  the 
30th  of  June,  In  the  course  of  this  debate,  Mr.  Madison  said 
that  the  difference  in  interest  between  the  States  depended 
not  upon  their  size,  but  upon  their  being  slave-holding  or  non- 
slave-holding  States.  The  remedy  for  this  difference  which 
had  occurred  to  him  was  that  instead  of  proportioning  the 
votes  of  the  States,  in  both  branches,  to  their  respective  num- 
bers of  inhabitants,  computing  the  slaves  in  the  ratio  of  5  to  3, 
they  should  be  represented  in  one  branch  according  to  the 
number  of  free  inhabitants  only ;  and  in  the  other,  according 
to  the  whole  number,  counting  the  slaves  as  free.    By  this 


238  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

arrangement  the  Southern  scale  (States)  would  have  the 
advantage  in  one  house  and  the  Northern  in  the  other. 

Mr.  Wilson  proposed  one  Senator  for  every  100,000  souls; 
the  States  not  having  that  number  to  be  allowed  one. 

Dr.  Franklin  proposed  an  equal  number  of  Senators  from 
each  State;  that  in  all  questions  touching  the  sovereignty  of 
the  States,  or  whereby  the  authority  of  the  States  over  their 
own  citizens  may  be  diminished,  or  the  authority  of  the  Gen- 
eral Government  within  the  States  increased,  and  in  the 
appointment  of  civil  officers,  each  State  should  have  equal 
suffrage;  that  in  money  bills  the  delegates  of  the  several 
States  shall  have  suffrage  in  proportion  to  the  contribution  of 
their  States  to  the  Treasury.  The  debate  on  this  day  was  very 
heated,  Mr.  Bedford,  of  Delaware,  stating  that  the  small 
States,  rather  than  agree  to  the  national  plan,  would  prefer  a 
foreign  alliance. 

On  July  2  the  vote  on  Mr.  EUsworth^s  motion  was  taken, 
and  it  was  lost  by  an  equal  division,  5  to  5.  Connecticut,  New 
York,  New  Jersey,  Delaware,  Maryland,  aye;  Massachusetts, 
Pennsylvania,  Virginia,  North  Carolina,  South  Carolina,  nayj 
Georgia,  divided. 

Mr.  C.  Pinckney  proposed  that  the  representation  of  the 
States  in  the  Senate  should  vary  according  to  population,  but 
that  the  larger  States  should  not  have  their  fall  proportion. 

Gen.  0.  C.  Pinckney  proposed  a  committee  of  one  from  each 
State  to  report  a  plan  of  compromise.  This  seemed  to  be  felt 
by  most  to  be  a  necessity. 

Mr.  Eandolph  said  he  would  agree  that,  in  the  choice  of  an 
Executive,  each  State  should  have  an  equal  vote.  Vote  for 
the  committee :  yeas,  9 ;  nays,  2. 

On  July  5  the  committee  of  11  reported  two  propositions: 

1.  That  in  the  House  of  Representatives  there  be  one  repre- 
sentative for  every  40,000  inhabitants ;  each  State  to  have  at 
least  one;  all  money  bills  to  originate  in  the  House,  and  not 
be  amended  in  Senate;  no  money  to  be  drawn  from  the  Treas- 
ury but  in  pursuance  of  appropriations  originated  in  the 
House. 

2.  In  the  Senate  each  State  to  have  an  equal  vote. 

Mr.  Madison,  in  a  note  (5  Elliot,  274)  says  that  this  com- 
promise was  proposed  by  Dr.  Franklin;  that  Mr.  Sherman,  who 
took  the  place  of  Mr.  Ellsworth,  proposed  that  each  State 
should  have  an  equal  vote  in  the  Senate,  provided  that  no 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION — BOUTELL.      239 

decision  thereon  sliould  prevail  unless  the  majority  of  States 
concurring  should  also  comprise  a  majority  of  the  inhabitants 
of  the  United  States,  but  it  was  not  much  deliberated  on  or 
approved  in  the  committee.  Mr.  Madison  says  a  similar  pro- 
vision was  proposed  in  the  debates  on  the  Articles  of  Confed- 
eration. I  can  find  no  confirmation  of  this  last  statement. 
Probably  Mr.  Madison  had  in  mind  the  proposition  reported 
by  Mr.  Adams,  to  which  reference  has  been  made. 

The  debate  which  followed  on  this  day  and  the  next  related 
principally  to  the  question  whether  the  giving  to  the  House 
the  sole  right  to  originate  money  bills  was  really  any  conces- 
sion to  the  large  States.  It  was  finally  voted,  5  to  3,  that  the 
clause  relating  to  money  bills  should  stand  as  a  part  of  the 
report. 

On  July  7  the  question  was  taken  up,  Shall  the  clause  allow- 
ing each  State  one  vote  in  the  second  branch  (the  Senate) 
stand  as  a  part  of  the  report? 

Mr.  Sherman  supposed  it  was  the  wish  of  every  one  that 
some  general  government  should  be  established.  An  equal 
vote  in  the  second  branch  would,  he  thought,  be  most  likely  to 
give  it  the  necessary  vigor.  "The  small  States  have  more 
vigor  in  their  government  than  the  large  onesj  the  more  influ- 
ence, therefore,  the  large  ones  have  the  weaker  will  be  the 
government.  In  the  large  States  it  will  be  most  difficult  to 
collect  the  real  and  fair  sense  of  the  people  j  fallacy  and  undue 
influence  will  be  practiced  with  the  most  success,  and  improper 
men  will  most  easily  get  into  office.  If  they  vote  by  States  in 
the  second  branch,  and  each  State  has  an  equal  vote,  there 
must  be  always  a  majority  of  States  as  well  as  a  majority  of 
the  people  on  the  side  of  public  measures,  and  the  Government 
will  have  decision  and  efficacy.  If  this  be  not  the  case  in  the 
second  branch  there  may  be  a  majority  of  States  against  pub- 
lic measures,  and  the  difficulty  of  compelling  them  to  abide 
by  the  public  determination  will  render  the  Government  fee- 
bler than  it  has  ever  yet  been.''  The  vote  on  this  question 
stood,  yeas  6,  nays  3.  Pennsylvania,  Virginia,  South  Caro- 
lina, nay;  Massachusetts  and  Georgia,  divided. 

From  the  9th  to  the  14th  of  July  the  debate  was  on  a  vari- 
ety of  questions  growing  out  of  the  provision  relating  to  the 
number  of  members  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  such  as 
slave  representation,  census,  and  representation  of  new  States. 

On  the  14th  of  July,  Mr.  Rutledge  proposed  to  reconsider 


240  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

tbe  two  propositions  touching  the  originating  of  money  bills  in 
the  first,  and  the  equality  of  votes  in  the  second  branch. 

Mr.  Gerry  favored  the  reconsideration,  with  a  view,  not  of 
destroying  the  equality  of  votes,  but  of  providing  that  the 
States  should  vote  per  capita,  which,  he  said,  would  prevent 
the  delays  and  inconveniences  that  had  been  experienced  in 
Congress,  and  would  give  a  national  aspect  and  spirit  to  the 
management  of  business. 

This  proposition  of  Mr.  Gerry's  that  the  Senators  vote  per 
capita,  though  not  acted  upon  at  this  time,  was  renewed  by 
Gouverneur  Morris  and  Mr.  King  on  July  23,  and  was  then 
adopted.  This  was  the  last  step  in  this  controversy,  and  one 
of  the  most  important.  It  must  have  seemed  to  the  National- 
ists a  much  greater  concession  than  the  giving  to  the  House 
of  Representatives  the  exclusive  right  to  originate  money  bills. 
It  removed  from  the  proceedings  of  the  Senate  all  appear- 
ances of  State  action,  and,  as  Mr.  Gerry  said,  it  gave  a  national 
aspect  and  spirit  to  the  management  of  business.  Only  the 
extreme  State  rights  men,  like  Luther  Martin,  opposed  it, 
and  on  the  final  vote  Maryland  was  the  only  State  voting  in 
the  negative.  For  this  suggestion,  Mr.  Gerry  is  entitled  to  no 
small  share  of  credit. 

The  reconsideration  proposed  by  Mr.  Eutledge  having  been 
agreed  to,  Mr.  Pinckney  moved  that,  instead  of  an  equality  of 
votes,  the  States  should  be  represented  in  the  Senate  as  fol- 
lows: New  Hampshire,  2;  Massachusetts,  4;  Rhode  Island,  Ij 
Connecticut,  3 ;  New  York,  S;  New  Jersey,  2;  Pennsylvania,  4^ 
Delaware,  1 ;  Maryland,  3 ;  Virginia,  5  5  North  Carolina,  3 ;  South 
Carolina,  3  5  Georgia,  2.  Total,  36.  This  motion  was  seconded 
by  Mr.  Wilson. 

Mr.  Sherman  urged  the  equality  of  votes,  not  so  much  as  a 
security  for  the  small  States,  as  for  the  State  governments, 
which  could  not  be  preserved  unless  they  were  represented 
and  had  a  negative  in  the  General  Government.  He  had  no 
objection  to  the  members  in  the  second  branch  voting  per  capita, 
as  had  been  suggested  by  Mr.  Gerry. 

Strong  speeches  were  made  by  Bang,  Madison,  and  Wilson, 
against  giving  to  the  States  an  equality  of  votes  in  the  Senate. 
Vote  on  Mr.  Pinckney's  motion:  Yeas,  4j  nays,  6. 

On  the  16th  of  July  the  vote  was  taken  on  the  whole  report 
as  amended,  including  equality  of  votes  in  the  Senate,  and 
resulted  in  5  yeas  and  4  nays.    Massachusetts  divided. 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION BOUTELL.      241 

On  July  23^  Gouverneur  Morris  and  Mr.  King  moved  that 
the  Senators  vote  per  capita.  Mr.  Ellsworth  said  he  had  always 
apjjf  oved  of  voting  in  that  mode.  It  was  agreed  to  that  the 
number  of  Senators  be  two  from  each  State. 

Mr.  L.  Martin  was  opposed  to  voting  per  capita,  as  depart- 
ing from  the  idea  of  the  States  being  represented  in  the  second 
branch.  Mr.  Carroll  was  not  struck  with  any  particular  objec- 
tion against  the  modej  but  he  did  not  wish  so  hastily  to  make 
so  material  an  innovation. 

The  vote  on  the  whole  motion,  viz,  "  The  second  branch  to 
consist  of  two  members  from  each  State,  and  to  vote  per  cap- 
ita," was,  yeas,  9;  nay,  1  (Maryland). 

From  this  review  of  the  proceedings  in  the  Federal  conven- 
tion on  the  rule  of  suffrage  in  the  two  Houses  of  the  National 
Legislature,  we  perceive: 

(1)  That  the  first  motion  that  the  States  have  an  equal  vote 
in  the  Senate  was  made  in  the  Committee  of  the  Whole,  on 
June  9,  by  Eoger  Sherman,  and  was  seconded  by  Oliver  Ells- 
worth, and  that  this  motion  was  negatived  by  a  vote  of  5  yeas 
to  6  nays. 

(2)  That  immediately  after  this  vote  was  taken,  James  Wil- 
son moved  that  the  right  of  suffrage  in  the  Senate  be  the  same 
as  in  the  House  of  Eepresentatives  (that  is,  according  to  pop- 
ulation), and  that  this  motion  prevailed  by  a  vote  of  6  yeas  to 
5  nays. 

(3)  That  on  June  13  the  national  plan  was  reported  by  the 
Committee  of  the  Whole,  which  provided  that  the  rule  of  suf- 
frage, in  both  Houses,  should  be  according  to  population. 

(4)  That  in  the  debate  in  the  convention,  on  this  national 
plan,  on  June  29,  Oliver  Ellsworth  moved  that  the  rule  of  suf- 
frage in  the  Senate  be  the  same  with  that  established  by  the 
Articles  of  Confederation.  After  a  long  debate,  the  vote  was 
taken  on  this  motion  on  July  2,  and  resulted  in  an  equal  divi- 
sion of  the  convention,  5  yeas  and  5  nays,  and  Georgia  divided. 

(5)  That  to  break  this  deadlock,  a  committee  of  eleven,  one 
from  each  State,  was  appointed  to  see  if  they  could  not  agree 
on  a  compromise  plan. 

On  July  5  the  committee  of  eleven  reported  a  plan,  which  was, 
in  substance,  that  in  the  House  of  Eepresentatives  representa- 
tion be  according  to  population  j  that  money  bills  originate  in 
the  House,  which  shall  not  be  altered  or  amended  in  the  Sen- 
ate; and  that  in  the  Senate  each  State  shall  have  an  equal 
S.  Mis.  104 16 


242  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

vote.  After  a  long  debate  and  various  amendments,  whicli 
only  affected  tlie  representation  in  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives, the  compromise  plan,  giving  the  States  an  equal  vote  in 
the  Senate,  was,  on  July  16,  adopted  by  a  vote  of  5  yeas  to  4 
nays,  Massachusetts  being  divided. 

(6)  That  the  final  action  on  this  subject  was  taken  on  the 
23d  of  July,  when  it  was  decided,  by  a  vote  of  9  yeas  to  1  nay, 
that  there  be  two  Senators  from  each  State,  and  that  they  vote 
per  capita. 

Beside  the  three  main  plans  for  representation  in  the  two 
Houses,  which  I  have  called  the  national,  the  confederate,  and 
the  compromise  plans  j  by  the  first  of  which,  representation  in 
both  Houses  was  to  be  according  to  population  j  by  the  second, 
the  States  were  to  have  an  equal  vote  in  both  Houses ;  by  the 
third,  the  States  were  to  be  represented  according  to  popula- 
tion in  the  House,  and  to  be  equally  represented  in  the  Senate; 
besides  these  three  main  plans,  a  variety  of  other  plans  were 
suggested  in  the  course  of  the  debate.  They  were,  as  we  have 
seen,  the  plans  of  Mr.  Baldwin,  of  Mr.  Madison,  of  Mr.  Wilson, 
of  Dr.  Franklin,  of  Mr.  0.  Pinckney,  and  of  Mr.  Sherman,  in 
the  committee  of  eleven. 

This  plan  of  a  double  representation  in  our  National  Legis- 
lature, of  population  in  one  House  and  of  States  in  the  other, 
has  generally  been  spoken  of  as  a  master  stroke  of  statesman- 
ship. We  have  seen  that  it  was  simply  the  result  of  a  compro- 
mise. It  originated  in  a  groundless  fear  that  the  larger  States 
would  combine  to  oppress  the  smaller  ones.  It  was  in  vain 
that  Madison,  and  Wilson,  and  Hamilton  pointed  out  that 
States  would  be  led  to  act  together,  not  from  similarity  in  size, 
but  from  unity  in  interest,  and  that  there  was  no  such  unity  of 
interest  in  what  were  then  the  large  States  (Massachusetts, 
Pennsylvania,  and  Virginia)  as  to  lead  them  to  oppress  the 
smaller  States.  As  we  read  the  debates  we  can  not  help  feel- 
ing that  a  man  of  such  strong  sense  as  Roger  Sherman  must 
have  felt  the  force  of  these  arguments.  That  he  did  so  seems 
apparent  from  the  fact  that  toward  the  close  of  the  debate  he 
defended  the  equal  representation  of  the  States  in  the  Senate 
on  the  ground  that  it  was  necessary  to  preserve  the  rights,  not 
of  the  small  States  against  the  large  States,  but  of  all  the 
States  against  the  General  Government. 

Experience  has  shown  that  there  never  was  the  slightest 
danger  that  the  large  States  would  combine  to  oppress  the 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION — BOUTELL.      248 

small  ones;  and  that  there  was  more  danger  to  the  National 
Government  from  the  State  governments  than  to  the  State 
governments  from  the  National  Government.  But  while  these 
fears  of  the  early  advocates  of  State  rights  were  groundless, 
Sherman  and  his  associates  were  doubtless  right  in  their  belief 
that  the  majority  of  the  people  were  in  favor  of  an  amendment 
of  the  Articles  of  Confederation  rather  than  of  a  purely  Na- 
tional Government,  and  that  there  was  danger  that  they  would 
reject  a  constitution  which  did  not  give  to  the  States  an  equal 
representation  in  at  least  one  House  of  the  National  Legisla- 
ture. And  so  they  insisted  on  a  compromise  which  gave  us 
not  an  ideally  perfect  National  Government,  but  the  best  per- 
haps which  the  people  were  willing  to  bear. 

Madison  and  his  associates  were  right  in  pointing  out  that 
the  danger  to  the  nation  was  from  the  State-rights  sentiment 
rather  than  from  the  national  sentiment.  Accordingly  we  find 
that  the  first  mutterings  of  discontent  were  in  the  Kentucky 
nullification  resolutions  and  in  the  Hartford  Convention. 
Disloyalty  took  a  more  serious  form,  in  Jackson's  time,  in  the 
nullification  proceedings  in  South  Carolina.  It  culminated,  in 
our  own  day,  in  secession  and  civil  war. 

The  constitution  of  the  Senate  as  the  representative  of  the 
States  did  not  produce  the  good  anticipated,  as  the  large 
States  were  never  hostile  to  the  small  States,  and  the  negative 
of  the  Senate  was  never  invoked  to  guard  the  States  against 
injurious  legislation  by  the  House  of  Eepresentatives.  Neither 
did  it  produce  the  evil  feared,  as  the  action  of  the  Senate  was 
never  antinational.  It  did,  however,  produce  what  the  advo- 
cates of  a  strong  national  government  most  desired,  a  small 
body  of  picked  men,  whose  intelligence,  character,  and  length 
of  service  have  made  them  a  fit  check  on  the  popular  branch 
of  the  legislature,  and  a  safe  depository  of  the  treaty -making 
power.  We  never  think  of  the  Senate  as  the  guardian  of 
State  rights,  but  as  the  noblest  embodiment  of  the  legislative 
wisdom  of  the  nation. 

Throughout  the  debates  in  the  convention,  Eoger  Sherman 
showed  himself  in  favor  of  amending  the  Articles  of  Confed- 
eration rather  than  of  forming  a  strong  national  government. 
He  expressed  himself  to  this  effect  on  the  first  day  he  took  his 
seat  in  the  convention.  Luther  Martin  said  in  his  report  to 
the  Maryland  legislature  that  the  members  of  the  convention 
who  prepared  the  resolutions  for  amending  the  Articles  of 


244  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Confederation,  presented  by  Patterson,  were  principally  of  the 
Connecticut,  Kew  York,  Kew  Jersey,  Delaware,  and  Maryland 
delegations. 

Sherman  favored  the  election  of  both  Eepresentatives  and 
Senators  by  the  State  legislatures  rather  than  by  the  people, 
though  he  finally  acquiesced  in  the  election  of  Representatives 
by  the  people.  He  thought  the  President  should  be  elected  by 
the  Irrational  Legislature,  and  should  be  absolutely  dependent 
on  it  and  removable  by  it  at  pleasure.  He  thought  Eepresent- 
atives and  Senators  should  be  paid  by  the  State  and  not  by 
the  National  Legislature,  but  finally  proposed  that  they  be  paid 
$5  a  day  out  of  the  National  Treasury,  and  that  any  further 
emoluments  be  added  by  the  States. 

He  thought  the  judges  should  be  removed  by  the  President, 
on  the  application  of  the  Senate  and  House.  He  opposed  in- 
ferior courts  as  a  needless  expense,  as  the  Stq^te  courts  would 
answer  the  same  purpose.  Finally,  he  was  willing  the  legisla- 
ture should  create  them,  but  wished  the  State  courts  to  be  used 
when  it  could  be  done  with  safety  to  the  general  interest.  He, 
however,  expressed  more  confidence  in  the  national  judiciary 
than  some  did,  and  believed  it  a  better  tribunal  for  determin- 
ing controversies  between  the  States  than  the  old  method  under 
the  Confederation. 

He  favored  the  ratification  of  the  Constitution  by  the  State 
legislatures  rather  than  by  conventions  of  the  people.  To  the 
clause  relating  to  amendments,  he  moved  to  add  that  "no 
amendments  shall  be  binding  unless  consented  to  by  the  sev- 
eral States."  On  the  last  day  of  debate  he  moved  a  proviso  to 
the  article  on  amendments,  "that  no  State  shall,  without  its 
consent,  be  affected  in  its  internal  police,  or  deprived  of  its 
equal  suffrage  in  the  Senate."  The  part  relating  to  equal  suf 
frage  in  the  Senate  was  adopted. 

In  the  plan  for  choosing  a  President  by  electors,  it  was  pro- 
vided that  in  case  of  a  failure  to  choose,  the  Senate  should  choose 
a  President  out  of  the  five  highest  candidates.  It  was  thought 
this  would  strengthen  the  aristocratic  influence  of  the  Senate 
too  much;  so  it  was  proposed  that  the  choice  should  be  by  the 
legislature.  Mr.  Sherman  then  suggested  that  in  that  case 
the  vote  should  be  by  States— "in  favor  of  the  small  States,  as 
the  large  States  would  have  so  great  an  advantage  in  nomi- 
nating the  candidates."    Finally  he  suggested  the  plan  which 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION — BOUTELL.      245 

was  adopted,  of  a  vote  by  the  House  of  Eepresentatives,  the 
members  from  each  State  having  one  vote. 

When  the  proi^osition  for  the  election  of  Eepresentatives  by 
the  people  was  first  under  discussion  (May  31)  Mr.  Sherman 
opposed  election  by  the  people,  insisting  that  it  ought  to  be  by 
the  State  legislatures.  ''The  people,"  he  said,  "immediately 
should  have  as  little  to  do  as  may  be  about  the  government. 
They  want  information,  and  are  constantly  liable  to  be  misled." 

When  this  matter  was  brought  up  the  second  time  (June  6) 
Mr.  Sherman  said: 

If  it  were  in  view  to  abolish  the  State  governments  the  elections  ought 
to  be  by  the  people.  If  the  State  governments  are  to  be  continued  it  is 
necessary,  in  order  to  preserve  harmony  between  the  National  and  State 
governments,  that  the  elections  to  the  former  should  be  made  by  the  latter. 
The  right  of  participating  in  the  National  Government  would  be  suffi- 
ciently secured  to  the  people  by  their  election  of  the  State  legislatures. 

When  the  clause  that  the  President  should  be  chosen  by  the 
National  Legislature  was  under  discussion  (July  17)  Mr.  Sher- 
man thought  that  the  sense  of  the  nation  would  be  better  ex- 
pressed by  the  legislature  than  by  the  people  at  large.  ''The 
latter  will  never  be  sufficiently  informed  of  characters,  and  be- 
sides will  never  give  a  majority  of  votes  to  any  one  man.  They 
will  generally  vote  for  some  man  in  their  own  State,  and  the 
largest  State  will  have  the  best  chance  for  the  appointment. 
If  the  choice  be  made  by  the  legislature,  a  majority  of  voices 
may  be  made  necessary  to  constitute  an  election." 

In  the  speech  above  referred  to,  made  on  June  6,  Mr.  Sher- 
man took  a  very  limited  view  of  the  powers  of  the  General 
Government.  ''The  objects  of  the  Union,"  he  thought,  "were 
few — first,  defense  against  foreign  danger;  secondly,  against 
internal  disputes  and  a  resort  to  force;  thirdly,  treaties  with 
foreign  nations;  fourthly,  regulating  foreign  commerce  and 
deriving  revenue  from  it.  These,  and  perhaps  a  few  lesser 
objects,  alone  rendered  a  confederation  of  the  States  necessary. 
All  other  matters,  civil  and  criminal,  would  be  much  better  in 
the  hands  of  the  States.  The  people  are  more  happy  in  small 
than  in  large  States.  States  may,  indeed,  be  too  small,  as 
Ehode  Island,  and  thereby  be  too  subject  to  faction.  Some 
others  were,  perhaps,  too  large,  the  powers  of  government  not 
being  able  to  pervade  them."  He  was  for  giving  the  General 
Government  power  to  legislate  and  execute  within  a  definite 
province. 

He  was  opposed  to  the  appointment  by  the  General  Govern- 


246  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

ment  of  the  general  officers  of  the  militia.  He  was  opposed 
to  a  tax  on  exports. 

In  view  of  the  part  which  slavery  has  played  in  our  national 
history,  it  strikes  one  as  strange,  at  first,  that  it  should  have 
played  so  small  a  part  in  the  Federal  Convention.  But  at  that 
time  slavery  was  not  confined  to  the  Southern  States  and  anti- 
slavery  sentiments  were  not  confined  to  the  !N"orthern  States. 
Gouverneur  Morris  made  a  sjieech  denouncing  slavery  which 
would  bave  done  credit  to  Wendell  Phillips.  But  he  was  ably 
supported  by  Mason  and  Madison.  Georgia  and  South  Caro- 
lina were  the  only  States  that  upheld  it.  Some  years  before 
Yirginia  had  abolished  the  slave  trade.  It  was  natural,  there- 
fore, that  the  members  of  the  convention  should  suppose  that 
in  a  few  years  slavery  would  come  to  an  end  in  most,  if  not 
all,  the  States.  Mr.  Ellsworth  undoubtedly  expressed  the  gen- 
eral belief  when  he  said,  "  Slavery,  in  time,  will  not  be  a  speck 
in  our  country." 

The  view  which  Mr.  Sherman  took  of  the  matter  was  thus 
expressed  by  him:  He  disapproved  of  the  slave  trade;  yet,  as 
the  States  were  now  possessed  of  the  right  to  import  slaves, 
as  the  public  good  did  not  require  it  to  be  taken  from  them, 
and  as  it  was  expedient  to  have  as  few  objections  as  possible 
to  the  proposed  scheme  of  government,  he  thought  it  best  to 
leave  the  matter  as  we  find  it.  He  observed  that  the  aboli- 
tion of  slavery  seemed  to  be  going  on  in  the  United  States, 
and  that  the  good  sense  of  the  several  States  would  probably 
by  degrees  complete  it.  He  urged  on  the  convention  the 
necessity  of  dispatching  its  business. 

One  of  the  most  surprising  things  in  these  debates  is  the 
hostility  shown  by  some  of  the  members  to  new  States,  and 
the  absurd  attempt  to  restrict  their  representation  in  the 
National  Legislature.  That  so  clear-headed  and  farsighted  a 
man  as  Gouverneur  Morris  should  have  committed  such  a 
blunder  is  a  most  striking  illustration  of  the  proverb  that 
"great  men  are  not  always  wise." 

This  hostility  found  its  formal  expression  in  the  motion  made 
by  Mr.  Gerry,  on  the  14th  of  July,  "that  in  order  to  secure  the 
liberties  of  the  States  already  confederated,  the  number  of 
representatives  in  the  first  branch  of  the  States  which  shall 
hereafter  be  established  shall  never  exceed  in  number  the 
representatives  from  such  of  the  States  as  shall  accede  to  this 
confederation." 


THE  FEDERAL  CONVENTION BOUTELL.      247 

Mr.  Sherman  made  the  only  speech  in  opposition  to  this 
motion.  He  thought  there  was  no  probability  that  the  number 
of  future  States  would  exceed  that  of  the  existing  States. 
"If  the  event  should  ever  happen,  it  is  too  remote  to  be 
taken  into  consideration  at  this  time.  Besides,  we  are  provid- 
ing for  our  posterity,  for  our  children  and  our  grandchildren, 
who  would  be  as  likely  to  be  citizens  of  new  Western  States 
as  of  the  old  States.  On  this  consideration  alone  we  ought  to 
make  no  such  discrimination  as  is  proposed  by  the  motion." 

And  yet  four  States — Massachusetts,  Connecticut,  Delaware, 
and  Maryland — voted  in  favor  of  Mr.  Gerry's  motion  j  Penn- 
sylvania was  divided,  and  only  five  States  voted  against  the 
motion. 

If  we  were  to  judge  of  the  members  of  the  Federal  Conven- 
tion by  their  mistakes  and  erroneous  opinions,  we  should  not 
form  the  highest  estimate  of  their  ability.  But,  judging  them 
as  men  should  always  be  judged — by  their  best  work — they  are 
deserving  of  the  rare  honor  which,  belongs  to  the  founders  of 
empires.  It  is  no  detraction  from  that  honor  that  they  builded 
better  than  they  knew.  Judged  by  this  test,  Koger  Sherman 
will  ever  be  conspicuous  as  the  statesman  to  whose  wise  and 
conciliatory  spirit  it  was  largely  due  that  the  Federal  Conven- 
tion was  not  held  in  vain. 


1 


I 


XX.-THE  HISTORICAL  SIGNIFICANCE  OF  THE  MISSOURI 
COMPROMISE. 


By  JAMES  A.  WOODBURN, 
PROFESSOR  OF  AMERICAN  HISTORY,  INDIANA  STATE  UNIVERSITY. 


249 


THE  HISTORICAL  SIGNIFICANCE  OF  THE  MISSOURI  COMPROMISE. 


By  James  Albert  Woodburn. 


The  struggle  for  the  restriction  of  African  slavery  in  the 
United  States  is  the  central  theme  in  American  political  history 
during  the  nineteenth  century.  That  struggle  suggests  to 
the  student  of  American  politics  a  long  series  of  contests  cul- 
minating at  last  in  one  of  the  greatest  civil  wars  in  human 
history. 

For  more  than  a  generation  all  other  subjects  in  our  Con- 
gressional history  had  sunk  into  a  place  of  secondary  or  tem- 
porary importance  5  this,  amid  events  of  varying  moment,  held 
tirst  rank  until  it  passed  for  settlement  from  the  forum  to  the 
field. 

The  struggle  over  the  admission  of  Missouri  into  the  Union 
(1818-1821),  involves  the  merits  of  the  whole  controversy.  The 
immediate  result  of  that  struggle  was  the  admission  of  Missouri 
without  restriction,  accompanied  with  the  provision  that  slav- 
ery should  be  forever  excluded  from  all  the  Louisiana  purchase 
north  of  36^  30',  the  southern  boundary  of  Missouri.  In  these 
few  words  is  stated  the  substance  of  the  Missouri  compromise — 
the  basis  of  adjustment  of  one  of  our  most  violent  political 
struggles,  the  outcome  of  one  of  the  ablest,  the  most  prolonged 
and  startling  debates  in  the  annals  of  the  American  Congress. 

In  attempting  to  interpret  the  significance  of  that  struggle 
and  to  estimate  the  principles  which  it  involved,  it  is  first 
essential  to  have,  if  possible,  a  candid  recital  of  the  facts. 

Preliminary  to  this  recital,  the  true  story  of  the  struggle 
requires  a  brief  mention  of  the  principal  ways  in  which  the 
slavery  question  touched  our  history  from  1789  to  1820. 

Congress  very  early  found  it  necessary  to  define  its  Consti- 
tutional powers  affecting  slavery.  This  was  done  March  23, 
1790.  An  address  in  the  shape  of  a  memorial  or  petition  had 
been  presented  to  Congress  on  February  11,  1790,  from  the 

251 


262  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Quaker  Yearly  Meeting  in  Pennsylvania,  against  the  continu- 
ance of  the  African  slave  trade  and  praying  Congress  "to 
remove  that  reproach  from  the  land."  The  motion  to  send  this 
memorial  to  a  committee  for  a  report  gave  rise  to  an  animated 
debate  of  considerable  length  on  the  merits  of  slavery  and  on 
the  competency  of  Congress  to  consider  such  a  subject.  Con- 
gress resolved  upon  the  report  of  the  committee  to  which  the 
memorial  was  referred,  in  substance,  as  follows : 

1.  That  the  General  Government  was  prohibited  from  inter- 
fering with  the  slave  trade  for  the  domestic  supply  until  1808. 
Congress  might  lay  a  tax  of  $10  on  the  importation. 

2.  That  Congress  had  no  power  to  interfere  with  slavery  in 
the  States,  either  to  emancipate  or  to  regulate  the  treatment 
of  slaves.  It  remains  alone  with  the  several  States  to  regulate 
their  internal  and  domestic  institutions. 

3.  That  Congress  could  prevent  the  slave  trade  for  foreign 
supply. 

This  assertion  of  the  extent  of  the  Constitutional  power  of 
I  Congress  over  slavery  was  universally  accepted.  There  is  no 
evidence  that  any  considerable  body  of  public  opinion  ever 
denied  the  correctness  of  this  interpretation.  Dr.  Franklin, 
the  president  of  the  Pennsylvania  Society  for  the  Abolition  of 
Slavery,  who  was  said  to  be  the  author  of  this  memorial,  acqui- 
esced in  the  decision  and  did  not  repeat  the  application.*  The 
Liberty  Party  men  of  1844,  and  the  Free  Soilers  of  1848  and 
1852,  never  materially  denied  these  propositions. 

By  the  enactment  of  the  fugitive  slave  law  of  1793  Con- 
gress proceeded  to  carry  into  effect  the  fugitive  slave  clause 
of  the  Constitution.  No  considerable  voice  of  opposition  was 
raised  to  this  enactment.  This  law  passed  the  Senate  by  a 
unanimous  vote  and  the  House  by  a  vote  of  48  to  7.  Two  of 
its  clauses  related  to  fugitives  from  justice  and  two  to  fugi- 
tives from  labor,  and  it  seemed  to  be  taken  for  granted  that 
one  set  of  refugees  should  be  returned  as  well  as  the  other. 

In  the  cession  of  their  western  territory  to  the  General  Gov- 
ernment, Korth  Carohna,  in  1789,  and  Georgia,  in  1802,  stipu- 
lated that  slavery  should  not  be  prohibited  therein.  It  seems 
to  have  been  agreed,  after  the  restriction  in  the  IJforthwest  by 
the  Ordinance  of  1787,  that  the  lands  south  of  the  Ohio  should 
follow  the  condition  of  the  States  which  ceded  it.    The  Gen- 

*  Benton's  Abridgments,  Vol.  i,  p.  239. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN. 


253 


eral  Government  accepted  the  Southwestern  Territory  without 
objection  to  this  condition  of  its  cession. 

In  1790  the  treaty- making  power  was  used  with  the  Creek 
Indians  to  bind  them  to  deliver  up  the  slaves  fled  from  Geor- 
gia. This  brought  the  national  power  to  the  support  of  slav- 
ery. The  right  to  do  this  existed,  but  it  is  not  evident  that 
it  was  the  duty  of  the  central  Government  to  do  so. 

In  1802  a  convention  at  Vincennes,  Ind.,  over  which  Wil- 
liam Henry  Harrison  presided,  attempted  to  secure  the  repeal 
of  the  antislavery  restriction  in  the  Ordinance  of  1787.  The 
memorial  which  this  convention  sent  to  Congress  was  consid- 
ered and  its  prayer  rejected.  Subsequent  attempts  in  thife 
direction  were  defeated,  and  Indiana,  in  1816,  came  into  the 
Union  as  a  free  State. 

By  the  Louisiana  treaty  with  France,  in  1803,  the  people 
living  in  that  Territory  under  French  law  were  guaranteed  all 
the  rights  of  person  and  property  which  they  were  enjoying 
at  the  transfer.  The  third  article  of  the  Louisiana  treaty  pro- 
vided,— 

That  the  inhabitants  of  the  Territory  shall  be  incorporated  in  the 
United  States  and  admitted  as  soon  as  possible,  according  to  the  principles 
of  the  Federal  Constitution,  to  the  enjoyment  of  all  the  rights,  advantages, 
and  immunities  of  citizens  of  the  United  States ;  and  in  the  meantime  they 
shall  be  maintained  and  protected  in  the  free  enjoyment  of  their  liberty, 
property,  and  the  religion  which  they  profess. 

The  right  to  their  "property"  included  the  right  to  their 
slaves,  and  it  may  be  said  that  Louisiana  came  to  us  as  slave 
territory.  Louisiana  was  admitted  to  the  Union  in  1812,  in 
harmony  with  this  treaty.  In  the  admission  no  discussion 
appears  on  the  subject  of  slavery.  The  later  proposed  restric- 
tion on  Missouri  and  Arkansas,  parts  of  the  original  Louisiana 
purchase,  appeared  to  the  inhabitants  of  those  Territories  as 
an  abolition  of  slavery,  not  as  a  restriction.  Slavery  had  been 
legal  in  those  Territories  by  the  French  law  of  Louisiana. 

As  to  the  slave  trade,  we  prohibited  it  to  carriers  of  other 
countries  in  1794;  we  outlawed  it  entirely  in  1807,  the  earliest 
possible  constitutional  datej  in  1815  we  united  with  England 
in  the  treaty  of  Ghent  in  agreement  to  suppress  it;  and  in 
1820  we  declared  the  trade  to  be  piracy. 

Slavery  existed  in  the  District  of  Columbia,  as  it  did  in  Mis- 
souri and  Arkansas,  because  of  the  inertia  of  the  Federal  Gov- 
ernment. Slavery  existed  in  Maryland  and  Virginia,  the 
States  which  ceded  this  territory;  the  District  was  contiguous 


254  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

to  these  States,  and  the  inference  was  that  it  should  be  let 
alone.  On  February  27,  1801,  Congress  declared  the  laws  of 
Virginia  and  Maryland  in  force  in  the  District,  and  henceforth 
slavery  existed  there  by  virtue  of  this  law. 

During  the  first  two  decades  of  this  century  there  seems  to 
have  been  but  little  probability  that  slavery  would  be  abolished 
in  the  States  which  had  not  already  made  arrangement  for 
emancipation.  The  tendency  seems  to  have  set  in  the  other 
way.  Washington  had  noticed,  a  few  years  before  his  death, 
the  subsidence  of  the  abolition  spirit,  and  he  had  "  despaired 
of  seeing  the  spirit  of  freedom  gain  the  upper  hand."  From 
the  formation  of  the  Union  until  the  application  of  Maine,  in 
the  midst  of  the  Missouri  struggle,  no  free  State  had  offered 
herself  for  statehood  except  from  territory  in  which  slavery 
had  been  prohibited  by  Federal  authority.  The  preservation 
of  the  political  equilibrium  between  the  slave  States  and  the 
free  had  already  become  a  matter  of  the  first  importance. 
The  steadiness  with  which  this  balance  was  preserved  has,  by 
students  of  to-day,  been  very  generally  observed.  In  1789  the 
States  were  as  follows : 

Slave. — Delaware,  Maryland,  Virginia,  North  Carolina,  South 
Carolina,  Georgia — 6. 

Free. — New  Hampshire,  Massachusetts,  Connecticut,  Ehode 
Island,  New  York,  New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania — 7. 

There  were  seven  free  States — or  States  soon  sure  to  be 
free — and  six  slave  States.  Between  1789  and  1820  States 
were  admitted  as  follows : 

Slave,— 1792,  Kentucky;  1796,  Tennessee;  1812,  Louisiana; 
1817,  Mississippi ;  1819,  Alabama. 

^ree.— 1791,  Vermont;  1803,  Ohio;  1816,  Indiana;  1818,  Dli- 
nois. 

The  slave  States  had  gained  one  from  the  start;  with  the 
assurance  of  Alabama's  admission,  the  balance  would  be  struck, 
in  numbers  11  to  11.  It  was  in  this  distribution  of  political 
power  between  the  sections  as  represented  in  the  United  States 
Senate  that  the  struggle  over  Missouri  arose. 

We  come  now  to  the  progress  of  the  events  in  that  struggle. 

THE  FIRST  MISSOURI  STRUGGLE. 

The  Fifteenth  Congress  assembled  at  Washington,  Decem- 
ber 1, 1817.  Henry  Clay  was  chosen  as  Speaker  of  the  House. 
John  Scott  appeared  as  the  delegate  from  the  Missouri  Terri- 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  255 

tory.  On  March  16,  1818,  Mr.  Scott,  the  delegate  from  Mis- 
souri, presented  a  petition  from  Missouri  praying  for  state- 
hood, which  together  with  former  similar  petitions  was  referred 
to  a  select  committee.*  On  April  18, 1818,  Mr.  Scott,  chairman 
of  this  committee,  reported  to  the  House  a  bill,  an  enabling 
act,  to  authorize  Missouri  Territory  to  form  a  constitution  and 
State  government  and  for  the  admission  of  the  State  into  the 
Union  on  an  equal  footing  with  the  other  States.  The  bill  was 
read  twice  and  referred  to  the  Committee  of  the  Whole,  where 
it  slept  for  the  remainder  of  the  session. 

The  same  Congress  met  again  in  second  session,  N"ovember 
16,  1818.  On  December  18,  1818,  the  Speaker  presented  a 
memorial  from  the  territorial  legislature  of  Missouri  again 
praying  to  be  permitted  to  form  a  constitution  and  State  gov- 
ernment preparatory  for  admission.  The  memorial  was  referred. 
On  Saturday,  February  13,  1819,  the  House,  on  motion  of 
Mr.  Scott  of  Missouri,  went  into  Committee  of  the  Whole  on 
the  enabling  acts  for  Missouri  and  Alabama.  The  Missouri 
bill  was  taken  up  first  and  Mr.  James  Tallmadge,  jr.,  a  repre- 
sentative from  New  York,  offered  the  following  amendment, 
which  will  be  hereafter  known  in  this  discussion  as  the  TaU- 
madge  amendment: 

Provided,  That  the  further  introduction  of  slavery  or  involuntary  servi- 
tude be  prohibited,  except  for  the  punishment  of  crimes  whereof  the  party 
shall  have  been  duly  convicted ;  and  that  all  children  born  within  the  said 
State  after  the  admission  thereof  into  the  Union  shall  be  iree,  but  may  be 
held  to  service  until  the  age  of  twenty-five  years.t 

It  is  to  be  noticed  that  there  were  two  distinct  parts  to  this 
amendment : 

(1)  Provision  against  the  further  introduction  of  slaves. 

(2)  Provision  for  gradual  emancipation  of  the  slaves  already 
there. 

*  At  the  same  time  Scott  presented  a  petition  from  the  inhabitants  of  the 
southern  part  of  Missouri  praying  for  a  division  of  the  Territory. 

tin  Seaton's  Annals  of  Congress  the  last  clause  of  this  amendment 
reads :  "  That  all  children  bom  within  the  said  State,  after  the  admission 
thereof  into  the  Union,  shall  be  free  at  the  age  of  twenty-five  years."  This 
statement  is  not  so  carefully  guarded  and  does  not  protect  from  slavery 
the  children  of  prospective  freedmen  who  might  be  born  to  these  before 
the  age  of  twenty-five.  The  amendment  as  given  in  the  text  is  taken  from 
Greeley's  Text-Book  of  1860,  p.  55,  and  is,  no  doubt,  the  correct  legal 
expression  of  the  amendment. 


256  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Neither  of  these  was  a  radical  proposition.  l!?  either  pro- 
posed to  interfere  with  the  rights  of  property  in  that  Territory. 

"The  motion  of  Tallmadge,"  says  the  Annals,  "gave  rise  to 
an  interesting  and  pretty  wide  debate."  The  discussion  con- 
tinued during  February  13  and  15  in  Committee  of  the  Whole, 
and  on  the  16th  in  the  House  ^  and  on  the  17th  the  House 
passed  the  bill  with  the  Tallmadge  amendment.  The  vote 
stood  87  to  76,  one  from  the  slave  States  favoring  restriction 
and  ten  from  the  free  States  opposing  restriction.  It  was 
clearly  a  sectional  vote. 

The  House  bill  for  Missouri  reached  the  Senate  February  17, 
1819.  It  was  read  twice  and  referred  to  the  Committee  on  the 
Memorial  from  Alabama.  On  February  21,  Senator  Tait,  of 
Georgia,  chairman  of  this  committee,  reported  the  bill  back  to 
the  Senate  with  an  amendment  striking  out  restriction.  On 
February  27  the  bill  "was  again  resumed,"  and  various 
motions  gave  rise  to  a  long  and  animated  debate.*  This 
debate  the  record  does  not  report.  The  Senate,  however, 
struck  out  the  Tallmadge  amendment,  the  latter  clause  which 
provided  for  gradual  emancipation,  by  a  vote  of  31  to  7  j  the 
first  clause  which  prohibited  further  introduction  of  slavery  by 
a  vote  of  22  to  16,  and  on  March  2, 1819,  the  amended  biU 
passed  the  Senate. 

On  the  return  of  the  bill  to  the  House,  March  2,  Tallmadge 
moved  the  indefinite  postponement  of  the  bill,  a  motion  which 
was  barely  lost,  and  which  would  probably  have  been  carried 
but  for  absentees.  The  House  then  refused  to  concur  in  the 
Senate  amendments,  and  the  bill  was  returned  to  the  Senate 
with  a  message  of  nonconcurrence.  A  message  came  back 
immediately  that  the  Senate  still  adhered  to  its  amendment, 
and  thereupon,  by  motion  of  Mr.  Taylor,  of  "New  York,  the 
House  voted  to  adhere  to  its  disagreement,  and  the  bill  was 
lost  with  the  Fifteenth  Congress  in  deadlock.  This  was  the 
end  of  the  first  struggle. 

Incidental  to  this  stage  of  the  discussion  it  is,  however, 
important  to  notice  that  the  struggle  for  restriction  in  the  Fif- 
teenth Congress  was  not  confined,  in  the  minds  of  the  restric- 
tionists,  to  the  question  of  the  admission  of  the  new  State  of 
Missouri.  The  southern  portion  of  that  Territory  was  cut  off 
from  the  proposed  new  State  and  organized  as  the  Territory 
of  Arkansas.    During  the  consideration  of  the  bill  to  provide 

*  Seaton's  Annals  of  Congress. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  257 

a  Territorial  government  for  the  Arkansas  country,  Mr.  Tay- 
lor, of  New  York,  moved  an  amendment  containing  the  sub- 
stance of  the  Tallmadge  amendment  to  the  Missouri  bill — to 
prohibit  the  existence  of  slavery  in  the  new  Territory.  "This 
motion,"  says  the  Annals,  "gave  rise  to  a  wide  and  long- 
continued  debate,  covering  part  of  the  ground  previously  occu- 
pied on  this  subject,  but  differing  in  part,  as  the  proposition 
for  Arkansas  was  to  impose  a  condition  on  a  Territorial  gov- 
ernment instead  of,  as  in  the  former  case,  to  enjoin  the  adop- 
tion of  the  (prohibitive)  principle  in  the  constitution  of  a 
State."  This  distinction  is  important,  in  view  of  the  fact  that 
t^J^y^  argument  agajnst_restriction  on  Missoim_wasJ)aSfid 
9P  the  sovereignty  andequality  of  the  States.  The  fact  of  the 
discussion  over  Arkansas  is  important  as  indicating  the  tem- 
per of  the  lower  House,  and  that  the  prime  motive,  the  upper- 
most desire,  of  those  who  wished  to  impose  conditions  ui)on 
Missouri,  was  to  limit  the  area  of  human  slavery.  The  House 
first  adopted  one  clause  of  the  Taylor  amendment,  that  pro- 
viding for  gradual  emancipation  in  Arkansas,  but  by  the  cast- 
ing vote  of  the  Speaker,  Mr.  Clay,  the  bill  was  recommitted, 
and  in  the  final  decision  the  House  determined  by  a  majority 
of  two  votes  to  strike  out  all  the  antislavery  restriction  on 
the  Territory  of  Arkansas.  Territorial  restriction  failed  only 
because  of  complication  with  the  Missouri  question.  Thus, 
we  see,  the  Fifteenth  Congress  expired  with  the  House  refus- 
ing to  admit  Missouri  without  restriction,  the  Senate  refusing 
to  admit  her  with  restriction. 

The  fact  that  the  Fifteenth  Congress  left  Missouri  witho'cit 
authority  to  organize  as  a  State  was  the  occasion  of  great 
excitement  among  the  people  of  that  Territory,  and  from  the 
adjournment  of  the  Fifteenth  Congress  to  the  assembling  of 
the  Sixteenth  the  whole  Union  was  agitated.  The  legislatures 
of  the  States  passed  resolutions  in  favor  of  and  against  restric- 
tion, according  to  their  respective  sections,  sending  copies  of 
these  to  one  another  and  to  the  General  Government;*  popu- 
lar assemblies  in  all  parts  of  the  country  debated  the  question, 
adopted  resolutions,  petitioned  Congress,  and  appealed  to  the 
public  sentiment  of  the  country  in  whatever  demonstration 
they  could  use  for  their  cause;  the  press  kept  up  a  continual 
agitation  and  a  multitude  of  pamphleteers  entered  the  field, 

*  See  Niles  Register,  Vol.  17,  p.  342. 
S.  Mis.  104 17 


9 

2f)8  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

adding  to  tlie  momentum  and  excitement  of  the  great  national 
argument.* 

SECOND  MISSOURI   STRUGGLE. 

Such  was  the  state  of  the  public  mind  when  the  Sixteenth 
Congress  assembled,  December  6, 1819.  Mr.  Clay  was  again 
elected  Speaker.  On  December  8jJL819^J3y  motioii_of  Scott, 
of  Missouri,  the  memorial  from^tha^State  j5mying_fc)r  admis- 
sion  was  referred  to  a  select  committee.  On  the  same  day  Mr. 
Strong,  of  SfewYork7~gave^  notice  of  his  intention  to  intro- 
duced a  bill  to  prohibit  the  further  extension  of  slavery  in  the 
Territories  of  the  United  States.  On  the  following  day,  Decem- 
ber 9,  Scott,  chairman  of  the  special  committee,  all  but  one  of 
whom  were  from  the  slave  States,  reported  an  enaWing  act  for 
Missouri  which  was  read  twice  and  referred  to  the  Committee  of 
the  Whole.  At  the  same  time  Strong  waived  his  notice  of  the 
previous  day  in  view  of  the  fact  that  the  same  issue  would  be 
presented  in  the  proposed  Missouri  bill. 

The  Missouri  bill  did  not  again  come  up  in  the  House  till 
Janu^rJ^7Tn52(rn[Jn  the  m  of  New  York, 

offered  an  amendment  requiring  that  Missouri  should  "ordain 
and  establish  that  there  shall  be  neither  slavery  nor  involun- 
tary servitude,  otherwise  than  in  punishment  of  crimes  whereof 
the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,"  followed  by  the 
usual  provision  for  the  rendition  of  fugitive  slaves. 

This  restrictive  amendment  was  debated  almost  daily  for 
nearly  a  month,  until  February  19,  when  a  bill  came  down  from 
the  Senate  "to  admit  the  State  of  Maine  into  the  Union,'' 
carrying  the  whole  Missouri  bill,  without  restriction,  as  a 
"rider." 

A  word  of  retrospect  as  to  Maine :  By  an  act  of  the  State 
of  Massachusetts  of  June  19, 1819,  the  people  of  that  part  of 
Massachusetts  known  as  Maine  were  permitted  to  form  them- 
selves into  an  independent  State.  In  this  instance  Massa- 
chusetts freely  consented  to  her  own  division,  but  these  pro- 
ceedings were  to  be  void  unless  Maine  were  admitted  to  the 
Union  by  March  4,  1820.  Accordingly,  the  people  of  Maine 
formed  a  constitution,  organized  a  State  government,  and  peti- 
tioned Congress  for  admission  to  the  Union.    Her  case  was 


(i  *  One  of  the  ablest  and  most  notable  of  the  pamphlets  was  by  Robert 
Walsh,  jr.,  of  Philadelphia,  in  favor  of  restriction.  (See  Niles  Register, 
vol.  17,  p.  307,  and  Madison's  letter  to  Walsh,  Vol.  iii,  of  Madison's 
Works.) 


THE   MISSOURI    COMPROMISE WOODBURN.  259 

exactly  parallel  with  that  of  Kentucky,  and,  as  in  Kentucky's 
case,  it  was  only  necessary  that  the  bill  admitting  Maine  should 
be  a  brief  enactment,  ''^that  from  and  after  March  3,  1820,  the 
State  of  Maine  is  hereby  declared  to  be  one  of  the  United 
States  of  America,"  and  shall  extend  the  United  States  laws 
over  her  territory  and  assign  her  a  fair  proportion  of  repre- 
sentatives. Ordinarily  this  simple  process  of  admission  would 
be  an  easy  matter,  and  but  for  the  issue  over  Missouri,  Maine's 
admission  would  have  passed  unquestioned.  The  House  had 
passed  an  ordinary  Maine  bill,  January  3,  1820.  The  Senate 
had  already  passed  a  similar  bill  to  a  second  reading,  merely 
declaring  the  consent  of  Congress  to  Maine's  admission  as 
early  as  December  22, 1819,  the  first  month  of  the  session.  It 
was  not  until  January  6,  1820,  three  days  after  the  House 
Maine  bill  had  come  to  the  Senate,  that  the  scheme  of  carry- 
ing Missouri  through  on  the  back  of  Maine  was  put  into  formal 
shape.  On  that  day  the  Senate  Committee  having  the  Maine 
bill  in  charge  reported  it  with  the  Missouri  "rider," but  on  the 
13th  the  House  Maine  bill  was  substituted  with  the  Missouri 
attachment. 

It  is  not  known  what  politician  first  suggested  the  party 
stroke  of  forcing  this  combination  of  the  two  bills  in  one — that 
the  admission  of  Maine  should  be  made  dependent  upon  uncon- 
ditional admission  of  Missouri.  It  is  known,  however,  that 
Henry  Clay  gave  public  approval  to  the  idea  two  weeks  before 
in  the  House  discussion  on  the  Maine  bill. 

Holmes  expressed  the  hope,  in  discussing  the  bill  for  Maine, 
that  the  question  had  not  gone  to  the  extent  of  making  one 
distinct  measure  depend  upon  another,  and  that  the  admis- 
sion of  Maine  did  not  depend  upon  giving  up  restriction  on 
Missouri.  Clay,  in  an  undertone,  said  that  it  did,  and  then 
answering  Holmes  he  asserted  publicly  that  he  did  not  intend 
to  give  his  consent  to  the  admission  of  Maine  until  the  doctrine 
of  imposing  conditions  were  given  up.  This  was  in  Decem- 
ber, 1819.  Clay  gave,  perhaps,  the  most  plausible  statement 
in  defense  of  a  position  which  is  usually  regarded  only  as  a 
politician's  resort  of  forcing  a  compensation  for  doing  his  duty. 
"A  State  in  the  quarter  of  the  country  from  which  I  come," 
says  Clay,  "  asks  to  be  admitted  to  the  Union.  What  say  the 
gentlemen  who  ask  the  admission  of  Maine?  Why,  they  will 
not  admit  Missouri  without  a  condition  which  strips  her  of  an 
essential  attribute  of  sovereignty?    What,  then,  do  I  say  to 


/ 


260  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   AiSSOCIATIOK 

them?  That  justice  is  due  to  all  parts  of  the  Union j  your 
State  shall  be  admitted  free  of  condition,  but  if  you  recuse  to 
admit  Missouri  also  free  of  condition  we  see  no  reason  why  you 
shaU  take  to  yourselves  privileges  which  you  deny  to  her,  and 
until  you  grant  them  also  to  her  we  will  not  admit  you.  This 
notion  of  an  equivalent  is  not  a  new  one ;  it  is  one  upon  which 
commonwealths  and  States  have  acted  from  time  immemorial." 
Holmes  then  pertinently  remarked  that  in  this  Clay  had  taken 
the  position  that  "  unless  others  do  what  they  think  is  wrong 
you  will  not  do  what  you  acknowledge  to  be  right."  And 
Livermore,  of  New  Hampshire,  pointedly  inquired  of  Clay  why 
he  had  not  *^ called  a  pause"  on  the  usual  admission  of  States 
before  the  admission  of  Alabama  in  that  very  year.  The  situ- 
ation clearly  shows  us  that  the  real  issue,  that  which  divided 
men  into  party  contestants  and  was  decisive  of  their  votes  and 
conduct,  was  the  question  of  slavery  and  its  interests.  The 
doctrine  of  the  sovereignty  and  equality  of  States  was  put  for- 
ward to  defend  the  interests  of  slavery. 

When  the  Maine  bill  was  reported  to  the  Senate  by  the  com- 
mittee, with  the  Missouri  "rider,", January  13,  1820,  Senator 
Eoberts,  of  Pennsylvania,  endeavored  to  secure  a  recommitment 
of  the  bill  with  a  view  to  their  separation.  Failing  in  this  he 
moved,  on  January  17,  an  absolute  antislavery  restriction. 
After  this  was  voted  down  the  restrictionists  in  the  Senate 
came  again  to  the  conflict  by  a  motion  from  Senator  Burrill,  of 
Ehode  Island,  to  apply  to  Missouri  "the  first  three  articles  of 
compact  in  the  ordinance  of  1787."  The  great  debate  then 
continued  in  the  Senate  for  a  month,  and  on  February  16,  1820, 
the  Senate  agreed  to  the  amendment  of  its  committee  combin- 
ing the  Maine  and  Missouri  bill  in  one.  Then  Mr.  Thomas,  of 
niinois,  amid  the  highest  excitement  of  the  debate,  offered  the 
following  important  amendment  to  the  Missouri  section  of  the 
bill: 

And  le  it  further  enacted,  That  in  all  that  territory  ceded  by  France  to 
the  United  States  under  the  name  of  Louisiana,  which  lies  north  of  36' 
and  30'  north  latitude,  excepting  only  such  part  thereof  as  is  included 
within  the  limits  of  the  State  contemplated  by  this  act,  slavery  and  in- 
voluntary servitude,  otherwise  than  in  punishment  of  crime  whereof  the 
party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  shall  be  and  is  hereby  forever  pro- 
hibited." 

This  amendment  contains  the  substance  of  the  final  settle- 
ment. Barbour,  of  Virginia,  attempted  to  have  the  line  fixed 
at  40O  and  30^ ;  only  three  Senators  voted  for  his  proposition. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE WOODBURN.  261 

Eaton,  of  Tennessee,  offered  as  a  substitute  for  the  Thomas 
amendment  a  section  prescribing  the  same  limits  as  the  Thomas 
amendment,  but  providing  that  the  restriction  apply  only 
while  said  portion  of  country  remains  a  Territory.  Eaton 
found  it  useless  to  press  the  substitute,  which  was  merely  an 
abstract  declaration  against  the  right  of  Congress  to  impose 
conditions  upon  a  State,  and.  he  withdrew  it.  Trimble,  of 
Ohio,  proposed  to  make  the  restriction  apply  to  all  territory 
west  of  the  Mississippi  except  Missouri.  After  these  three  sug- 
gestions had  been  made  in  vain  the  Thomas  amendment  was 
adopted  the  next  day  in  the  Senate  by  a  vote  of  34  to  10, 
without  change  and  without  debate,  and  on  the  18th  the  Maine 
and  Missouri  bill  in  one,  with  the  compromise  amendment, 
was  formally  passed. 

On  February  19,  1820,  the  House  took  up  these  Senate 
amendments  to  the  Maine  bill.  Taylor  moved  that  the  House 
disagree,  whereupon  Scott  moved  that  the  amendments  be  sent 
to  the  Committee  of  the  Whole,  which  was  then,  and  had  been 
for  days,  considering  the  House  Missouri  bill.  This  motion 
took  precedence  and  a  spirited  debate  followed,  but  commit- 
ment was  defeated  by  a  vote  of  107  to  70.  The  question  then 
came  up  on  the  motion  to  disagree,  which  was  debated  for 
three  days,  when,  on  February  23,  the  House  disagreed  to  the 
Missouri  attachment  by  a  vote  of  93  to  73,  and  then  to  the 
restrictive  amendment  by  159  to  18.  So  the  Senate  Maine- 
Missouri  bill  with  the  Thomas  amendment  was  defeated  in  the 
House.  The  House  then  went  into  the  Committee  of  the 
Whole  on  its  own  bill  with  the  Taylor  restriction,  which  was 
still  pending.  The  House  continued  the  debate  on  this  re- 
strictive clause  February  24  and  25.  On  the  26th  Mr.  Storrs, 
of  ^ew  York,  moved  the  substance  of  the  Thomas  amend- 
ment, and  supported  it  in  a  speech  ^^embracing  incidentally 
an  examination  of  the  right  of  imposing  the  slavery  restric- 
tion on  Missouri."*  On  the  28th  of  February  the  Senate  sent 
a  message  to  the  House  saying  that  it  insisted  on  its  amend- 
ments. Taylor  moved  that  the  House  insist  upon  its  disagree- 
ment. By  a  vote  of  97  to  76  the  House  again  refused  to  agree 
to  the  log-rolling  of  Maine  and  Missouri  into  one  bill.    Then 

*The  italics  are  mine.  This  indicates  what  is  clear  throughout  the 
debate,  the  distinction  made  hy  Congress  between  barring  slavery  from 
the  Territories  and  imposing  conditions  on  a  State.  Very  few  denied  to 
Congress  the  former  power. 


262  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

disagreement  to  the  restrictive  compromise  amendment  was 
voted  by  160  to  14,  Lowndes,  of  South  Carolina,  explaining 
for  the  friends  of  Missouri  that  though  he  favored  such  a 
proposition  yet,  since  the  free  admission  of  Missouri  had  been 
defeated,  the  restrictive  amendment  was  useless,  and  there 
was  no  motive  to  vote  for  it  with  the  Maine  bill  alone.  The 
chief  desire  of  the  men  for  whom  Lowndes  spoke  was  to 
secure  the  immediate  admission  of  Missouri  without  restric- 
tion j  to  that  end  they  were  ready  to  consent  to  restriction 
on  the  Territories.  The  House  had  again  disagreed  to  both 
amendments  of  the  Senate. 

The  Senate  was  then  about  to  adjourn  when  the  Clerk  of  the 
House  presented  himself  at  the  door  with  a  message  that  the 
House  had  insisted  upon  its  disagTeement.  Mr.  Thomas,  of 
Illinois,  then  moved  that  a  committee  of  conferrence  be  ap- 
pointed, which  was  the  occasion  of  a  debate  of  "  vehemence 
and  warm  feeling."*  The  Senate  voted  to  request  a  confer- 
ence, and  Senators  Thomas  of  Hlinois,  Pinkney  of  Maryland, 
and  Barbour  of  Yirginia,  were  appointed  the  Senate  con- 
ferees. On  the  following  day,  February  29,  the  House  agreed 
to  confer,  and  Messrs.  Holmes  of  Massachusetts,  Taylor  of 
ISTew  York,  Lowndes  of  South  Carolina,  Parker  of  Massa- 
chusetts, and  Kinsey  of  Kew  Jersey,  were  appointed  to  man- 
age the  conference  on  the  part  of  the  House. 

On  March  1  the  House  passed  its  Missouri  bill  with  restric- 
tion. It  was  immediately  taken  up  in  the  Senate  and  on  March 
2  it  was  passed,  after  striking  out  restriction  and  substituting 
the  Thomas  compromise  amendment.  This  agreed  with  what, 
it  seemed  to  be  understood,  would  be  the  report  of  the  confer- 
ence committee.  This  report  was  made  in  the  House  by  Mr. 
Holmes  on  March  2.  It  contained  three  distinct  recommenda- 
tions : 

(1)  The  Senate  should  give  up  a  combination  of  Missouri  in 
the  same  bill  with  Maine,  and  Maine  should  be  admitted. 

(2)  The  House  should  abandon  the  attempt  to  restrict  slavery 
in  Missouri. 

(3)  Both  Houses  should  agree  to  pass  the  Senate's  Missouri 
bill  with  the  Thomas  restriction  excluding  slavery  north  and 
west  of  that  State. 

After  the  reading  of  the  report  the  first  and  vital  question 
was  then  put  to  the  House :  Will  the  House  concur  with  the 

*  Seaton's  Annals. 


THE    MISSOURI   COMPROMISE WOODBURN.  263 

Senate  in  admitting  Missouri  without  restriction  as  to  slavery? 
On  this  vital  question  a  last,  short,  fervent  debate  occurred. 
Lowndes  of  South  Carolina,  Holmes  of  Massachusetts,*  and 
Mercer  of  Virginia,  spoke  vigorously.  Kinsey,  of  New  Jer- 
sey, as  one  of  those  holding  the  balance  of  power  between  the 
contending  forces,  voiced  the  opinion  of  the  moderate  restric- 
tionists  who  were  now  ready  to  compromise.  The  cause  upon 
which  he  relied  was  the  cause  of  the  Union,  and  to  the  desire 
and  love  of  Union  he  appealed.  This  had  been  the  cause  of. 
compromise  before,  as  it  was  destined  to  be  many  a  time  since. 
Kinsey  in  the  closing  debate  said : 

Now,  sir,  is  to  be  tested  whetlier  this  grand  and  hitherto  successful  ex- 
periment of  free  government  is  to  continue,  or  after  more  than  forty  years 
enjoyment  of  the  choicest  blessings  of  heaven  under  its  administration, 
we  are  to  break  asunder  on  a  dispute  concerning  a  division  of  territory. 
Gentlemen  of  the  majority  have  treated  the  idea  of  a  disunion  with  ridi- 
cule ;  but  to  my  mind  it  presents  itself  in  all  the  horrid  gloomy  features 
of  reality.  *  *  *  On  this  question,  which  for  near  six  weeks  has  agi- 
tated and  convulsed  this  House,  I  have  voted  with  the  majority.  But  I 
am  convinced  should  we  persist  to  reject  the  olive  branch  now  offered,  the 
most  disastrous  consequences  will  follow.  Those  convictions  are  confirmed 
by  that  acerbity  of  expression  arising  from  the  most  irritated  feelings, 
wrought  upon  by  what  our  Southern  brethren  conceive  unkind,  unjust, 
determined  perseverance  of  the  majority,  and  to  those  I  now  beg  leave  to 
address  myself.  Do  our  Southern  brethren  demand  an  equal  division  of 
this  widespread  fertile  region,  this  common  property  purchased  with  the 
common  funds  of  the  nation  ?  No ;  thej  haveagreed  to  fix  an  irrevocable 
boundary  beyond  which  slavery  shall  never  pass;  thereby  surrendering 
to  the  claims  of  humanity  and  the  nonslaveholding  States,  to  the  enter- 
prising capitalist  of  the  North,  the  Middle,  and  Eastern  States,  nine-tenths 
of  jthe  country  in  question.  In  rejecting  so  reasonable  a  proposition  we 
must  have  strong  and  powerful  reasons  to  justify  our  refusal.  *  *  * 
Should  we  now  numerically  carry  the  question  it  will  be  a  victory  snatched 
from  our  brothers.  It  will  be  an  inglorious  triumph,  gained  at  the  haz- 
ard of  the  Union.  Humanity  shudders  at  the  thought.  National  policy 
forbids  it.  It  is  an  act  at  which  no  good  man  will  rejoice,  no  friend  of 
his  country  can  approve,  t 

The  House  decided  to  give  up  restriction  by  a  vote  of  90  to 
87.  Fourteen  of  those  who  voted  to  forego  restriction  on  Mis- 
souri were  from  the  free  States.  Taylor,  the  persistent  and 
valiant  leader  of  the  early  free-soilers,  who,  as  a  member  of  the 
conference  committee  from  the  House,  was  the  only  one  of  all 
the  committee  who  refused  to  concur  in  the  report,  made  a  last 

*  Holmes  represented  the  district  of  Maine  and  was  anxious  for  its 
admission  as  a  State.    He  became  one  of  Maine's  first  Senators. 
t  Annals  of  Congress,  Sixteenth  Congress,  first  session,  vol.  2,  p.  1579. 


264  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

effort  for  his  cause  by  endeavoring  to  secure  the  insertion  of  a 
line  excluding  slavery  from  all  the  territory  west  of  the  Missis- 
sippi except  Missouri,  Arkansas,  and  Louisiana,  but  the  pha- 
lanx of  restriction  had  been  broken  and  his  worthy  effort  failed. 
The  Missouri  bill,  enabling  Missouri  to  form  her  constitution, 
passed  both  Houses  March  2,  1820.  The  following  day  the 
Maine  bill  passed  the  Senate.  Maine  was  admitted,  and  the 
people  of  Missouri  were  authorized  to  form  a  State  govern- 
ment and  constitution.  And  this  was  the  end  of  the  second 
struggle. 

In  reviewing  the  struggle  in  his  mind  the  careful  student 
will  distinguish  here  between  the  two  totally  distinct  proposi- 
tions in  reference  to  restriction:  (1)  The  original  restriction 
of  Tallmadge,  which  Clay  vehemently  opposed,  proposed  the 
exclusion  of  slavery  from  Missouri.  This  was  restriction  on  a 
State,  and  was  opposed  on  that  ground.  (2)  The  final  restric- 
tion of  Thomas  proposed  the  exclusion  of  slavery  from  the 
Territories  of  the  United  States  north  and  west  of  Missouri. 
This  proposition  was  adopted  j  but  it  did  not  emanate  from  the 
original  Missouri  restrictionists,  nor  did  it  by  any  means 
satisfy  them.  The  final  compromise  measure  was  proposed  by 
a  steadfast  opponent  of  the  original  Tallmadge  amendment. 
"  The  current  assumption, "  says  Greeley,  "that  this  restriction 
was  proposed  by  Rufas  King,  of  if ew  York,  and  mainly  sus- 
tained by  the  antagonists  of  slavery^  is  wholly  mistaken.  The 
truth,  doubtless,  is  that  it  was  suggested  by  the  more  mod- 
erate opponents  of  restriction  on  Missouri  as  a  means  of  over- 
coming the  resistance  of  the  House  to  slavery  in  Missouri.  It 
was,  in  effect,  an  offer  from  the  milder  opponents  of  slavery 
restriction  to  the  more  moderate  and  flexible  advocates  of  that 
restriction.  ^Let  us  have  slavery  in  Missouri  and  we  will 
unite  with  you  in  excluding  it  from  all  the  uninhabited  terri- 
tories north  and  west  of  that  State. '  It  was  in  substance  an 
agreement  between  the  North  and  the  South  to  that  effect, 
though  the  more  determined  champions,  whether  of  slavery 
extension  or  slavery  restriction,  did  not  unite  in  it.  "*  This 
statement  of  Greeley  is  borne  out  by  the  record  and  the  final 
vote.  After  the  prolonged  and  bitter  contest  j  after  a  debate, 
then  without  a  parallel  in  the  history  of  Congress,  a  debate 
equaled  only  in  the  Constitutional  Convention  of  1787,  which 
itself  had  settled  the  slavery  question  by  compromises  j  facing 

*  Political  Text  Book,  1860,  p.  63. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  265 

bitter  prophecies  of  disunion  as  an  alternative  5  with  earnest  and 
impassioned  appeals  for  peace  and  compromise  still  resounding 
in  their  ears,  87  original  restrictionists  still  held  out  for 
restriction  on  Missouri.  They  would  not  consent  to  a  single 
other  slave  State  in  the  American  Union,  and  restriction  was 
finally  abandoned  only  by  a  majority  of  three  votes.  Slavery 
was  allowed  in  Missouri,  and  restriction  was  beaten  only  by 
the  plan  of  proffering  instead  an  exclusion  of  slavery  from  all 
the  then  Federal  territory  west  and  north  of  that  State.  With- 
out this  compromise,  or  its  equivalent,  the  Northern  votes 
needed  to  pass  the  bill  could  not  have  been  obtained.  * 

THE   THIRD   MISSOURI   STRUaGLE. 

It  seemed  that,  at  last,  this  protracted  struggle  had  been 
brought  to  a  close.  Maine  was  now  admitted,  coming  in  within 
the  time  assigned  by  Massachusetts.  N"othing  now  remained 
but  that  Missouri  should  form  her  constitution,  that  it  be  for- 
mally accepted  by  Congress,  and  that  the  new  State  take  her 
place  with  the  rest. 

A  Missouri  convention  assembled  at  St.  Louis  and  adopted 
a  constitution  for  the  new  State  July  19,  1820.  The  people  of 
Missouri  were  displeased  with  the  long  delay  which  had  been 
imposed  upon  them  by  the  introduction  of  a  subject  which  they 
felt  was  a  concern  of  themselves  alone.  It  was  their  right,  in 
their  opinion^  to  settle  the  slavery  question  for  themselves. 
In  this  feeling  of  resentment,  and  led  by  extremists  in  the 
convention,  they  inserted  a  provision  in  their  constitution 
declaring  that  "it  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  general  assembly, 
as  soon  as  may  be,  to  pass  such  laws  as  may  be  necessary  to 
prevent  free  negroes  or  mulattoes  from  coming  to  or  settling  in 
this  State  under  any  pretext  whatever."  t  This  constitution 
was  laid  before  Congress  by  Mr.  Scott,  the  delegate  from  Mis- 
souri, on  !N"ovember  20, 1820.  The  objectionable  clause  in  her 
constitution  gave  rise  to  a  stouter  and  more  serious  contest 
than  any  which  had  preceded.  There  arose  once  more  a  bitter 
parliamentary  struggle,  which  provoked  dire  threats  of  the  dis- 

*  Greeley,  Political  Text  Book,  1860. 

tThe  constitution  also  forbade  the  legislative  emancipation  of  slaves 
without  the  consent  of  the  masters.  These  two  new  subjects  were  to  be 
presented  for  the  consideration  of  Congress,  and  it  was  evident  that  the 
whole  subject  would  again  be  reopened.  It  seemed  as  if  Missouri  wished 
to  meet  Congress  in  a  spirit  of  defiance. 


266  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION, 

solution  of  tlie  Union.  The  lines  of  the  old  contest  formed 
again.  The  antislavery  men  and  restrictionists  who  had  so 
hotly  contested  Missouri's  admission  as  a  slave  State  deter- 
mined to  continue  that  opposition.  They  were  joined  by  some 
who  had  formerly  voted  against  restriction,  but  who  were  now 
ready  to  vote  against  admission.  They  based  their  opposition 
upon  the  ground  that  the  obnoxious  clause  in  Missouri's  con- 
stitution was  an  insulting  reflection  upon  every  State  in  which, 
colored  men  were  citizens,  and  that  it  was  in  direct  contraven- 
tion of  that  clause  in  the  U.  S.  (Constitution  which  declares 
that  "the  citizens  of  each  State  shall  be  entitled  to  all  the 
privileges  and  immunities  of  citizens  of  the  several  States."* 

Missouri's  constitution,  upon  its  presentation,  was  referred 
to  a  committee  of  which  Mr.  Lowndes,  of  South  Carolina,  was 
chairman.  Within  a  week  the  committee  reported  in  favor  of 
admission,  proposing  to  effect  this  by  a  simple  resolution, 
"  that  the  State  of  Missouri  shall  be,  and  is  hereby  declared  to 
be,  one  of  the  United  States  of  America,  and  is  admitted  to 
the  Union  on  an  equal  footing  with  the  original  States."  The 
report  considered  the  objection  which  had  been  urged  to  Mis- 
souri's ready  admission,  although  this  objection  had  not  yet 
come  under  the  cognizance  of  Congress. 

Mr.  Lowndes,  in  a  notable  speech  advocating  the  immediate 
recognition  of  Missouri  as  a  State,  held  that  the  enabling  act 
of  the  former  session  was  a  complete  act  of  admission,  that  the 
time  and  circumstances  which  made  a  people  a  State  were  the 
time  at  which  its  people  formed  a  constitution,  and  the  act  of 
forming  it.  This  view,  Mr.  Lowndes  contended,  was  according 
to  precedent.  In  the  case  of  Indiana,  December  11, 1816,  the 
practice  of  a  subsequent  declaration  of  admission  first  occurred, 

*  Benton  virtually  acknowledges  the  presence  of  a  defiant  spirit  in  the 
Missouri  convention.  He  says :  "  The  State  of  Missouri  made  her  consti- 
tution sanctioning  slavery  and  forbidding  her  legislature  to  interfere  with 
it.  This  prohibition,  not  usual  in  State  constitutions,  was  the  effect  of 
the  Missouri  controversy  and  of  foreign  interference,  and  was  adopted  for 
the  sake  of  peace  to  prevent  the  agitation  of  the  slave  question.  I  was 
myself  the  instigator  of  that  prohibition  and  the  cause  of  its  being  put 
into  the  constitution — though  not  a  member  of  the  convention — being 
equally  opposed  to  slavery  agitation  and  to  slavery  extension.  There  was 
also  a  clause  prohibiting  the  emigration  of  free  people  of  color  into  the 
State.  This  clause  was  laid  hold  of  in  Congress  to  resist  the  admission  of 
the  State;  but  the  real  point  of  objection  was  the  slavery  clause  and  the 
existence  of  slavery  in  the  State."     (Thirty  Years'  View,  Vol.  i,  pp.  8, 9.) 


THE   MISSOURI    COMPROMISE— WOODBURN.  267 

and  this  declaration  was  but  a  formal  notification  to  the  other 
States  that  a  new  member  had  been  admitted.  The  act  of  the 
last  session  which  had  been  agreed  to  by  the  compromise  after 
so  long  a  struggle  did  not  merely  give  to  the  people  of  Missouri 
the  right  to  propose  a  constitution,  but  it  conferred  on  that 
people  all  the  rights  of  the  proudest  and  oldest  States.  This 
is  clearly  seen,  urged  Mr.  Lowndes,  from  the  fact  that  while 
the  act  was  under  discussion  Mr.  Taylor,  of  New  York,  the 
leader  of  the  restrictionists,  had  moved  to  insert  an  amend- 
ment providing  that  if  the  constitution  of  the  new  State  ^'  shall 
be  approved  by  Congress,  the  said  Territory  shall  be  admitted 
as  a  State  upon  the  same  footing  as  the  original  States."  This 
amendment  was  voted  down,  implying  that  Missouri  would  be 
admitted  without  such  condition.  We  had  given  Missouri  the 
right  of  self-government,  and  we  cannot  now  take  it  from  her, 

Mr.  Lowndes  would  not  undertake  to  decide  whether  or  not 
the  objectionable  clause  was  constitutional.  He  would  leave 
that  for  the  Supreme  Court  to  determine.  He  was  aware  that 
a  very  large  majority  of  the  free  blacks  of  the  United  States 
were  not  considered  citizens  in  their  respective  States,  and 
this  provision  of  Missouri  might  be  construed  as  intending  to 
exempt  from  its  provision  such  of  the  blacks  as  were  citizens 
in  other  States.  A  similar  provision  discriminating  against 
free  colored  persons  was  in  the  constitution  of  Delaware.  No 
one  contended  that  Congress  could  sit  in  judgment  on  the 
various  constitutional  provisions  of  the  old  States.  The  States, 
old  and  new,  must  be  equal,  and  why  should  Missouri  be  singled 
out  for  invidious  distinction  ?  The  question  should  be  left  to  the 
Judiciary  as  the  proper  tribunal  to  interpret  the  law.  When 
Tennessee  presented  herself  for  admission,  having  formed  a 
constitution  without  an  enabling  act  of  Congress,  Mr.  Smith,  of 
South  Carolina,  objected,  on  the  ground  that  the  constitution 
of  Tennessee  was  incompatible  with  that  of  the  IJnited  States  j 
Mr.  Baldwin  replied  that  "if  there  should  be  things  in  the 
constitution  of  Tennessee  not  compatible  with  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  it  was  well  known  that  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  would  be  paramount;  they  can  therefore 
be  of  no  effect."  In  that  case  the  question  of  constitutional 
law  was  left  to  the  supreme  judicial  tribunal. 

Mr.  Sergeant,  of  Pennsylvania,  replied  to  Mr.  Lowndes.  He 
did  not  consider  that  a  Territory  became  an  independent  and 
sovereign  State  at  the  time  it  formed  a  constitution.    Congress 


268  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

could  not  admit  a  State  by  anticipation.  Congress  could  not 
bind  itself  to  the  admission  of  a  State  so  as  to  have  no  choice 
but  to  accept  such  a  constitution  as  that  State  chose  to  offer. 
Giving  authority  to  the  people  of  a  Territory  to  form  a  State 
constitution  did  not  admit  them  into  the  Union,  unless  their  con- 
stitution should  be  such  as  the  people  of  the  United  States, 
through  their  representatives,  thought  fit  to  accept  as  a  fun- 
damental rule  of  government.  If  it  be  true  that  Missouri  has 
already  the  "rights  of  the  oldest  and  proudest  States"  why  are 
we  deliberating?  Why  is  this  resolution  now  under  considera- 
tion? Why  are  the  Senators  and  the  Representative  from 
Missouri  kept  waiting  at  our  doors  until  they  learn  the  fate  of 
this  resolution  ?  Why  was  Missouri's  constitution  submitted 
to  a  committee!  Why  has  that  committee  made  a  report 
which  we  are  now  discussing!  And  why  did  the  committee 
consider  it  necessary  to  go  into  an  examination  of  a  particular 
clause  of  that  constitution,  pointing  out  a  mode  by  which 
Congress  might  relieve  itself  from  the  task  of  deciding  on  its 
constitutionality  by  leaving  it  to  the  judiciary!  The  reason 
assigned  by  the  committee  in  the  "whereas"  of  the  resolution 
is  that  Missouri  has  formed  a  constitution  in  conformity  with 
our  act  of  the  last  session.  How  could  the  committee  know 
this!  In  the  act  authorizing  the  formation  of  this  constitu- 
tion were  found  two  limitations — that  the  constitution  should 
be  republican  and  that  it  should  not  be  repugnant  to  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States.  Is  it  not  indispensable  before 
passing  a  resolution  like  this  that  the  members  of  this  House 
should  be  satisfied  that  these  requisitions  have  been  complied 
with !  Can  it  be  said  that  Congress  has  parted  with  the  power 
of  looking  into  the  constitution  of  Missouri  when  it  had 
expressly  prescribed  conditions  which  should  be  indispensable 
to  its  acceptance  !  If  Missouri  is  now  involved  in  difficulty  it 
is  the  fault  of  the  people  of  Missouri,  This  is  a  difficulty  which 
they  themselves  have  created  5  the  failure  to  fulfill  the  com- 
pact is  on  tbe  part  of  the  people  of  that  Territory.  Would 
the  people  of  Missouri  think  more  highly  of  Congress  were  we 
to  yield  to  them  on  this  occasion!  How  much  better  it  would 
be  for  Congress  at  once  to  take  its  ground  and  refuse  to  sanc- 
tion the  constitution  of  any  State  which  is  in  any  respect 
repugnant  to  that  of  the  United  States.  Would  any  one  pre- 
tend, if  this  constitution  instead  of  being  faulty  in  one  partic- 
ular were  faulty  from  beginning  to  end,  that  Missouri  would 


THE    MISSOURI    COMPROMISE WOODBURN.  269 

be  entitled  to  admission  ?  Yet  the  surrender  of  our  right  to 
decide  in  one  particular  involved  the  whole.  With  respect  to 
the  iDroposition  to  turn  the  question  over  for  decision  to  the 
Judiciary,  Mr.  Sergeant  said  that  he  must  declare,  with  the 
greatest  respect  for  that  judicial  body,  that  he  could  not  con- 
sent, on  a  question  which  was  properly  presented  for  his  own 
decision,  to  say,  "Let  the  question  sleep  till  some  humble 
individual,  some  poor  citizen,  shall  come  forward  and  claim  a 
decision  of  it."  He  would  not  leave  to  some  individual  to  do 
what  it  was  the  duty  of  Congress  to  do.  Such  is  a  resume  of 
the  initial  speech  in  the  renewed  opposition  to  Missouri. 

These  speeches  opened  a  long  and  animated  debate.  The 
principal  theme  of  discussion  was  the  citizenship  of  free  per- 
sons of  color,  and  tlie  subject  was  examined  from  every  point 

oFviewI ^r.  Barbour,  of  Virginia,  attempted  a  definition  of 

the  term  citizen.  There  was  not  a  State  in  the  Union,  in  his 
opinion,  in  which  colored  men  were  citizens  in  the  sense  in 
which  the  Constitution  uses  the  term — no  State  in  which  they 
have  all  the  civil  rights  of  other  citizens,  and  therefore  the 
constitution  of  Missouri  did  not  infringe  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States. 

Mr.  Archer,  of  Virginia,  remarked  that  if  there  were  colored 
persons  who  were  citizens  in  some  of  the  States,  there  was 
notoriously  a  much  larger  class  who  did  not  belong  to  this 
description,  and  the  clause  in  Missouri's  constitution  might  be 
considered  as  operating  only  on  this  latter  class.  To  reject  her 
constitution  in  the  present  state  of  the  public  mind  would  lead 
to  suspicion  that  the  policy  of  restriction  was  to  be  reopened  j 
in  that  case  the  wound  inflicted  on  the  harmony  of  the  country 
would  be  incurable  J  every  man  must  perceive  that  the  Union 
would  be  gone. 

Mr.  McLane,  of  Delaware,  asserted  that  free  negroes  and 
mulattoes  are  not  that  description  of  citizens  contemplated  by 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  as  entitled  to  Federal 
rights.  What  rights  they  have  are  of  a  local  nature,  dependent 
upon  the  gratuitous  favor  of  the  municipal  authorities  of  the 
States  5  these  rights  are  limited  to  the  States  granting  them 
and  confer  no  Federal  privileges  and  immunities.  The  free 
negro  must  be  shown  to  be  of  "that  description  of  citizen"  to 
whom  the  Constitution  meant  to  guarantee  equal  rights  in 
every  State. 

Mr.  McLane  was  answered  by  Mr.  Eustis,  of  Massachusetts, 


270  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

who  showed  that  the  rights  of  citizenship  in  the  States  were  left 
to  the  States  themselves  and  that  in  Massachusetts  the  free 
negro  was  in  the  enjoyment  of  equal  citizenship  under  the  laws  j 
there  the  free  negro  was  in  the  enjoyment  of  civil  rights,  which 
were  guaranteed  to  him  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  and  of  which  he  should  not  be  deprived. 

On  December  13, 1820,  the  House  rejected  the  resolution  for 
the  admission  of  Missouri  by  a  vote  of  93  to  79.  Mr.  Lowndes 
then  said  that  while  he  did  not  wish  to  be  disrespectful  to  the 
majority  of  the  House,  he  now  called  upon  that  majority  "•  to 
devise  and  propose  means  necessary  to  protect  the  Territory, 
property,  and  rights  of  the  United  States  in  the  Missouri 
country."  The  Missouri  question  now  disappears  from  the 
Congressional  debates  for  two  weeks.  On  January  5,  1821, 
Mr.  Archer  of  Virginia,  offered  in  the  House  a  resolution 
instructing  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary  to  inquire  into  the 
legal  relation  of  Missouri  to  the  United  States — to  ascertain 
whether  there  were  United  States  tribunals  there  '^competent 
to  exercise  jurisdiction  and  to  determine  controversies,  and  if 
there  be  no  such  tribunals,  to  report  such  measures  as  will 
cause  the  laws  of  the  United  States  to  be  respected  there." 
Mr.  Archer  asserted  that  in  his  opinion  Missouri  stood  entirely 
disconnected  from  any  legal  or  political  relation  with  the  United 
States  Government.  "With  our  own  hands  we  have  cut  all 
the  moorings,  and  she  floats  entirely  liberated  and  at  large. 
She  stood  formerly  in  the  relation  of  a  Territory  j  she  had  pro- 
posed to  assume  the  relation  of  a  State.  This  House  had 
refused  her  permission  to  do  so,  and  Missouri  stands  dis- 
charged from  all  relation  to  the  Union."  This  resolution  was 
the  next  phase  of  the  Missouri  question,  which  gave  rise  to  a 
spirited  debate.  The  friends  of  Missouri  held  that  their  posi- ' 
tion  was  anomalous.  She  was  not  a  Territory,  she  was  not  a 
State  J  the  authority  of  the  Union  hung  over  her,  but  there 
was  no  legal  mode  by  which  it  could  be  exercised — the  channels 
by  which  the  authority  of  the  United  States  Government  could 
be  exercised  had  been  cut  off.  On  the  other  hand,  the  oppo- 
nents of  Missouri's  admission  held  that  her  relation  to  the 
Union  were  as  they  had  been,  and  they  succeeded  in  laying  the 
Archer  resolution  of  inquiry  on  the  table.  This  prevented  the 
House  Judiciary  Committee  from  giving  a  public  legal  declara- 
tion of  Missouri's  relations  and  rights,  and  by  this  action  the 


THE   MISSOURI    COMPROMISE WOODBURN.  271 

House  assumed  the  existence  of  the  Territorial  relation,  with- 
out, however,  any  express  settlement  of  the  question. 

Missouri  next  came  up  in  the  House  debates  on  a  question 
of  amending  the  Journal.  On  January  11  Mr.  Lowndes  pre- 
sented three  memorials  from  the  senate  and  house  of  repre- 
sentatives of  Missouri.  On  the  12th  Mr.  Cobb,  of  Georgia, 
moved  to  amend  the  Journal  by  inserting  the  words  *Hhe 
State  of"  before  the  word  ^'Missouri."  After  some  rapid  spar- 
ring in  debate  the  parties  ranged  themselves  for  another  vote, 
and  the  motion  of  Mr.  Cobb  was  lost  by  the  casting  vote  of  the 
Speaker,  and  the  House  thus  again  refused  to  recognize  Mis- 
souri as  a  State.  Mr.  Parker,  of  Virginia,  then  moved  to 
amend  the  Journal  by  inserting  before  "Missouri"  the  words 
"the  Territory  of."  The  House  had  denied  what  Missouri  is 
not,  they  must  now  say  what  she  is.  The  Speaker  then  ex- 
plained from  the  chair  that  the  Journal  should  be  prepared  by 
the  Clerk.  The  rules  of  the  House  made  it  the  duty  of  the 
Speaker  "to  examine  and  correct  the  Journal  before  it  is  read." 
In  this  case  the  memorials  had  been  purposely  made  to  read 
so  as  neither  to  affirm  nor  deny  that  Missouri  was  a  State, 
since  the  House  was  divided  upon  that  question.  In  the  course 
of  the  debate  which  continued,  Mr.  Parker,  who  had  made  his 
motion  for  the  purpose  of  bringing  the  House  to  a  decision, 
said:  "I  say  Missouri  is  a  State j  and  were  I  a  citizen  of  that 
State,  I  would  never,  at  your  suggestion,  strike  out  that  clause 
in  her  constitution  to  which  objection  has  been  made.  If  I 
found  it  convenient  to  myself  to  do  so  I  would  j  but  I  would 
not  do  it  on  your  recommendation,  even  for  the  important  boon 
of  being  admitted  in  the  Union.  I  would  rather  be  trodden 
down  by  the  armies  from  the  North  and  East  than  yield  this 
point.  If  ever  a  people  on  earth  has  been  maltreated  it  is  this 
people."  The  motion  of  Mr.  Parker  was  voted  down,  and  the 
House  proceeded  to  discuss  the  right  of  the  Speaker  to  make 
the  alterations  in  the  Journal  which  he  had  made  in  these 
memorials.  Thus,  while  refusing  to  acknowledge  Missouri  as 
a  State,  the  House  refused  to  declare  that  she  was  a  Territory. 
It  left  the  question  in  statu  quo. 

On  January  24, 1820,  Mr.  Eustis,  of  Massachusetts,  offered 
a  resolution  declaring  the  admission  of  Missouri  on  condition 
that  the  objectionable  clause  in  her  constitution  be  expunged. 
His  object  was  to  remove  the  only  objection  to  the  admission 
of  Missouri,    This  resolution  was  negatived  by  a  large  majority. 


272  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

On  January  29, 1820,  a  resolution  from  the  Senate  came  to 
the  House  and  was  taken  up  there  in  Committee  of  the  Whole. 
This  Senate  resolution  admitted  Missouri,  provided — 

That  nothing  herein  contained  shall  be  so  construed  so  as  to  give  the  assent 
of  Congress  to  any  provision  in  the  constitution  of  Missouri  (if  any  such 
there  he)  which  contravenes  that  clause  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  which  declares  that  the  citizens  of  each  State  shall  be  entitled  to  all 
the  privileges  and  immunities  of  citizens  of  the  several  States. 

One  objection  which  had  been  urged  to  admitting  Missouri 
with  her  objectionable  constitution  was  that  to  do  so  would 
be  to  consent  to  the  unconstitutional  provision  of  her  funda- 
mental law.  The  Senate  resolution  was  intended  to  meet  this 
objection.  It  admitted  the  probability  that  Missouri's  objec- 
tionable clause  contravened  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  and  merely  asserted  the  Senate's  unwillingness  to  have 
its  admission  of  Missouri  interpreted  as  making  Congress  a 
party  to  such  violation.  This  was  not  satisfactory  to  the 
opponents  of  Missouri,  who  held  that  the  responsibility  was  on 
Congress  J  it  was  the  duty  of  Congress  to  prevent  a  violation 
of  the  Constitution,  and  this  resolution  merely  shirked  the 
responsibility.  It  was  seen  that  the  resolution  would  be  re- 
jected by  the  House. 

Between  January  29  and  February  2  no  less  than  six  amend- 
ments were  proposed  in  the  nature  of  binding  Missouri  either 
to  expunge  the  offensive  clause  of  her  constitution  or  never  to 
enact  a  law  in  obedience  to  that  clause.  The  debates  of  these 
days  covered  the  evils  of  slavery,  the  rights  of  the  South,  the 
balance  of  power,  the  nature,  obligations,  and  benefits  of  the 
Union.  On  February  2  Mr.  Clay,  seeing  that  all  efforts  at 
amendment  had  failed,  and  anxious  to  make  a  last  effort  to 
settle  this  distracting  question,  moved  to  refer  the  Senate's 
resolution  to  a  special  committee  of  thirteen  members.* 

KEPORT  OF   COMMITTEE  OF  THIRTEEN. 

On  February  10  Mr.  Clay,  on  behalf  of  the  Committee  of  Thir- 
teen, reported.    The  committee  had  desired  to  arrive  at  a  conclu- 

*The  Committee  of  Thirteen  consisted  of  the  following:  Clay  of  Ken- 
tucky, Eustis  of  Massachusetts,  Smith  of  Maryland,  Sergeant  of  Penn- 
sylvania, Lowndes  of  South  Carolina,  Ford  of  New  York,  Archer  of  Vir- 
ginia, Hackley  of  New  York,  S.  Moore  of  Pennsylvania,  Cobb  of  Georgia, 
Tomlinson,  of  Connecticut,  Butler  of  New  Hampshire,  Campbell  of  Ohio. 


V 


I 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  273 

sion  which  would  give  general  satisfaction  5  they  had  sought  a  full 
and  frank  comparison  of  opinion  among  themselves  5  the  com- 
mittee was  of  the  unanimous  opinion  that  no  condition  ought  to 
be  imposed  on  Missouri  except  those  suggested  at  the  last  session 
of  Congress,  i.  e.,  that  her  constitution  should  be  republican  and 
in  conformity  with  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  5  that 
the  question  of  restriction  should  not  be  raised.  This  limited  the 
consideration  of  the  committee  to  the  question  whether  Mis- 
souri's constitution  was  in  conformity  with  these  conditions,  and 
it  was  found  that  the  only  objection  to  her  constitution  was  the 
clause  to  which  exception  had  been  taken.  On  that  clause  the 
same  diversity  of  opinion  appeared  in  the  committee  which 
had  been  made  manifest  in  the  House.  "  With  these  conflict- 
ing opinions  the  committee  thought  it  best  that,  without  either 
side  abandoning  its  opinion,  an  endeavor  should  be  made  to 
form  an  amendment  to  the  Senate  resolution  which  should 
contain  an  adequate  security  against  the  violation  of  the  priv- 
ileges and  immunities  of  citizens  of  other  states  in  Missouri." 
Accordingly,  Missouri  is  to  be  admitted  into  the  Union  "uponi 
the  fundamental  condition  that  she  shall  never  pass  any  laws 
preventing  any  description  of  persons  from  going  to  or  settling  j 
in  the  said  State  who  now  are,  or  hereafter  may  become,  cit-  / 
izens  of  any  of  the  States  of  this  Union;  and  upon  the  legis-^ 
lature  of  the  said  State  signifying  its  assent  to  that  condition, 
by  a  solemn  public  act,  which  is  to  be  communicated  to  the 
President  of  the  United  States,  he  is  to  proclaim  the  fact,  and 
thereupon  the  admission  of  the  said  State  is  to  be  complete. 
To  prevent,  however,  this  amendment  from  being  considered 
as  impairing  any  right  which  may  appertain  to  Missouri,  in 
common  with  other  States,  to  exclude  from  her  jurisdiction 
persons  under  peculiar  circumstances  (as  paupers  and  vaga- 
bonds), a  further  proviso  is  added  declaring  Missouri's  right 
to  exercise  any  power  which  the  original  States  may  constitu- 
tionally exercise." 

This  report  from  the  special  Committe  of  Thirteen,  made  on 
the  10th  of  February,  was  laid  on  the  table  until  February  12. 
The  debate  was  then  again  renewed,  involving  charges  and-j 
countercharges  on  the  balance  of  power  between  the  sections  I  ^ 
and  on  the  matter  of  slave  representation.  The  majority  in 
opposition  to  Missouri  was  still  obdurate,  and  the  Senate  reso- 
lution, amendment  and  all,  was  rejected  by  the  close  vote  of 
83  to  80.  Members  in  ill  health,  who  had  not  been  in  the  hall 
S.  Mis.  104 18 


■i 


if^i') 


274  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

when  their  names  were  called,  appeared  and  asked  to  have 
their  votes  recorded.  This  could  not  be  done  except  by  unani- 
mous consent.  This  was  not  given  and  the  work  of  the  Com- 
mittee of  Thirteen  seemed  to  have  come  to  nothing.  Mr. 
Livermore,  however,  an  opponent  of  Missouri,  who  had  objected 
to  the  contested  votes,  gave  notice  of  a  motion  to  reconsider 
in  order  that  the  question  might  be  fairly  tested  in  a  full 
vote  of  the  House.  On  the  next  day,  February  13, 1821,  Mr. 
Livermore  made  his  motion  for  reconsideration.  Some  of  the 
friends  of  Missouri  opposed  the  motion  for  reconsideration, 
partly  because  they  would  not  have  Missouri  burdened  with 
any  conditions  whatever,  holding  that  she  was  only  kept  out 
of  the  Union  by  violence  and  injustice;  partly  because,  as  in 
the  case  of  Mr.  Eandolph,  of  Virginia,  they  held  that  the  bat- 
tle had  been  fairly  fought  and  won  by  the  other  side,  and 
that  another  way  must  be  found  to  settle  this  question.  Mr. 
Clay  made  a  successful  plea  for  reconsideration,  and  again  the 
House  plunged  into  a  heated  debate.  At  this  stage  of  the 
controversy  Mr^^Piaskney,  of  jouth  Carolina,  made  a  notable 
speech.  He  considered  that  the^ountry  ^^  had  now  arrived  at 
the  most  awful  period  which  had  hitherto  occured  on  this  deli- 
cate and  distressing  subject.'^  He  quoted  from  a  letter  cf  Jef- 
ferson, lately  published,  indicating  the^orten tons  character  of 
tfielNIissouri^^Stipn.*  '  I  agree  perfectly  with  him, '  said  Mr. 
tinckney,  "  and  J_  consider  this,  beyond  all  comparison,  the 
second  (guestion  in  importance  which  has  been  agitated  among 
us  since  ourTevollSm  the  parent  State.  The  first  was  the 
[  memorable  declaration  which  confirmed  the  Union  and  gave 
,  birth  to  the  independence  of  our  country.  This  is  the  only 
one  which  may,  in  its  consequences,  lead  to  the  dissolution 
of  that  very_JCrnion^  and  prove  the  deathblow  to  all  our 
political  happiness" and  national  importance.  I  express  this 
fear  from  tKelact  that  gentlemen  of  the  opposition  have 
seen  fit  to  throw  off  the  veil  and  expressly  declare  their  inten- 
tion to  leave  this  question  to  the  next  Congress ;  to  leave  to 
them  unfettered  by  any  act  of  ours  the  power  to  decide  how 
far  the  true  interests  of  the  Union  may  make  it  necessary  to 
renew  th^_stru^glefor^estrictiqn  of  slavery  in  Missouri — a 

*  "The  Missouri  question  is  the  most  portentous  one  that  ever  threatened 
our  Union.  In  the  gloomiest  moments  of  the  Revolutionary  war  1  never 
had  any  apprehension  equal  to  that  I  feel  now  from  this  source." — (Jeffer- 
son.) 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  275 

/struggle_which  has  during  the  last  three  sessions  shaken  the 
Union_to^Jts_ver2^_foTm^  avow  that  they 

do  not  consider  themselves  bound  by  the  compact  of  last  year, 
but  aver,  if  they  have  the  strength  to  do  so,  to  leave  the  next 
Congress  free  to  decide  this  question  as  they  please."  Mr. 
Pinckney  then  went  into  an  examination  of  the  constitution 
of  Missouri,  claiming  for  it  an  excellence  and  superiority  over 
the  constitutions  of  other  States.  ^'  Can  it  be  possible,"  he 
asked,  "  that  so  excellent  a  systen  can  be  rejected  for  the  tri- 
fling reason  that  it  inadvertently  contains  a  provision  prohibit- 
ing the  settlement  of  free  negroes  and  mulattoes  among  them 
Or  is  it  not  infinitely  more  probable  that  other  reasons  of  a 
much  more  serious  nature,  and  pregnant  with  the  most  disas- 
trous events  to  the  future  union  and  peace  of  these  States,  are 
at  the  bottom  of  this  unexpected  and  inexcusable  opposition? 
The  article  of  the  Constitution  on  which  now  so  much  stress 
is  laid — ^the  citizens  in  each  State  shall  be  entitled  to  all  the 
privileges  and  immunities  in  every  State,' — having  been  made 
by  me,  it  is  supposed  that  I  must  know,  or  perfectly  recollect, 
what  I  meant  by  it.  In  answer,  I  say  that,  at  the  time  I  drew 
that  article,  I  perfectly  knew  that  there  did  not  then  exist 
such  a  thing  in  the  Union  as  a  black  or  colored  citizen,  nor 
could  I  have  conceived  it  possible  such  a  thing  could  ever  have 
existed  in  it.*  Missouri  having  no  idea  of  the  existence  of 
such  a  thing  as  a  black  or  colored  citizen  of  the  United  States, 
and  knowing  that  all  the  Southern  and  Western  States  had  for 
many  years  passed  laws  to  the  same  effect,  which  laws  are  well 
known  to  Congress,  being  at  this  moment  in  their  library  and 
within  the  walls  of  the  Capitol,  and  which  were  never  before 
objected  to  by  them  or  their  courts,  they  (the  people  of  Mis- 
souri) were  no  doubt  warranted  in  supposing  they  had  the 
same  right.  The  silence  of  Congress  on  the  antecedent  laws 
of  Southern  and  Western  States  might  fairly  be  considered  a 
sanction  to  Missouri's  proceeding." 

This  speech  of  Mr.  Pinckney  gave  indirect  public  expression 
to  the  charge,  which  had  been  frequently  bandied  in  political 
circles,  that  the  anti  slavery  restrictionists,  having  secured 
the  admission  of  Maine,  were  now  not  willing  to  fulfill  the  terras 
of  the  compromise ;  that  they  were  guilty  of  a  breach  of  faith. 
The  injustice  of  this  view  is  indicated  by  the  fact  that  some 
members  who  had  voted  against  restriction  on  Missouri  in  the 

*Gen.  Pinckney  was  a  member  of  the  Constitutional  Convention  of  1787. 


276  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

previous  session,  were  now  opposing  her  admission  under  her 
objectionable  constitution.  Mr.  Foot,  of  Connecticut,  was  of 
tbis  number,  and  be  asserted  at  tbis  stage  of  tbe  controversy 
tbat  be  would  never  vote  for  Missouri's  admission  unless  tbe 
offensive  clause  were  expunged.  It  was  evident  tbat  Missouri's 
objectionable  clause  bad  aroused  tbe  temper  of  tbe  House  and 
excited  its  antagonism.  But,  no  doubt,  the_  original  restric- 
tiouists  were  ready  to  seize  tbis  opportunitvto  put  an  obstacle 
V  inl^be  way  of  tbe  admission  of  anotber  slave  StaFer  Mr.  Clay, 
sFriiggling  for  conciliation,  closed  tbe  debate.  He  alternately 
reasoned,  remonstrated,  and  entreated  tbe  House,  but  bis  effort 
was  in  vain,  and  bis  compromise  resolution  was  rejected  by  a 
vote  of  88  to  82. 

It  was  tbe  day  after  tbis  seemingly  final  rejection  of  Missouri 
tbat  tbe  t\70  Houses  were  appointed  to  meet  to  count  tbe  elec- 
toral vote  for  President  and  Vice-President.  It  bad  been  seen, 
of  course,  tbat  tbe  question  would  arise  wbetber  tbe  vote  of 
Missouri  sbould  be  counted,  or  wbetber  it  was  entitled  to  be 
cast.  It  bad  not  yet  been  decided  wbetber  Missouri  was  a 
State.  In  order  to  come  to  some  arrangement  by  wbicb  tbe 
Houses  could  avoid  tbis  question  wben  tbey  sbould  come  into 
joint  session,  Mr.  Clay  bad,  ten  days  before,  on  February  4, 
offered  in  tbe  House  a  resolution  providing  tbat  if  any  objec- 
tion be  made  to  tbe  vote  of  Missouri  tbe  President  of  tbe 
Senate,  wbo  was  to  preside  on  tbis  occasion,  sbould  be  directed 
to  announce  wbat  tbe  result  would  be  if  tbe  votes  of  Missouri 
were  counted  and  wbat  it  would  be  if  tbe  votes  of  Missouri 
were  not  counted  j  ^'but  in  eitber  case  A.  B.  is  elected  Presi- 
dent of  tbe  United  States." 

Tbis  resolution  was  adopted  only  after  considerable  debate 
as  to  tbe  status  of  Missouri.  Tbe  Senate  also  agreed  to  tbis 
plan.  Tbere  was  still  mucb  fear,  bowever,  tbat  it  would  not 
be  successful  in  keeping  tbe  peace.  Tbe  fear  was  realized. 
Tbe  joint  meeting  of  tbe  two  Houses  on  tbe  14tb  of  February 
was  one  of  turbulent  excitement.  It  was  frequently  inter- 
rupted by  simultaneous  cballenges  of  Missouri's  vote.  Wben 
tbe  vote  of  Missouri  was  announced  Mr.  Livermore,  of  Few 
Hampsbire,  arose  and  said:  "  Mr.  President  and  Mr.  Speaker, 
I  object  to  receiving  any  votes  for  President  and  Yice-Presi- 
dent  from  Missouri,  as  Missouri  is  not  a  State  of  tbis  Union." 
Tbis  objection  was  numerously  and  clamorously  seconded. 
Confusion  and  tumult  followed,  till  ^'  at  last  a  Senator,  witb  a 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  277 

voice  above  the  wildness  of  the  scene,  moved  that  the  Senate 
withdraw,  which  was  immediately  obeyed,  and  the  House  was 
left  in  sole  possession  of  the  field."*  Disorder  continued  in 
the  House  after  the  Senate's  withdrawal,  one  member  crying 
"Missouri  is  not  a  State,"  another  shouting,  "Missouri  is  a 
State."  An  hour  of  wrangling  followed.  When  order  was 
restored,  Mr.  Floyd,  of  Virginia,  rose  and  offered  the  following 
resolution :  t 

Resolved,  That  Missouri  is  one  of  the  States  of  this  Union,  and  her  rotes 
for  President  and  Vice-President  of  the  United  States  ought  to  be  received 
and  counted. 

Mr.  Floyd  said  that  he  now  considered  the  House  brought 
to  the  brink  of  the  precipice.  "The  votes  of  other  States  had 
been  received  and  counted  before  their  admission  had  been 
formally  declared.  The  question  of  Missouri  was  now  brought 
fairly  to  issue.  Let  us  know  whether  Missouri  be  a  State  in 
the  Union  or  not.  If  not,  let  us  send  her  an  ambassador,  and 
treat  for  her  admission.  Sir,  we  can  not  take  another  step 
without  hurling  this  Government  into  the  gulf  of  destruction. 
For  one,  I  say  I  have  gone  as  far  as  I  can  go  in  the  way  of 
compromise,  and  if  there  is  to  be  a  compromise  beyond  that 
point,  it  must  be  at  the  edge  of  the  sword." 

Mr.  Archer,  of  Maryland,  moved  the  indefinite  postpone- 
ment of  Mr.  Floyd's  resolution.  He  was  a  friend  of  Missouri, 
but  he  could  not  assert  by  his  vote  that  she  was  a  member  of 
the  Union  without  the  acceptance  of  her  constitution  by  Con- 
gress, as  much  as  he  "  reprobated  the  foul  combination  for  her 
rejection." 

John  Eandolph,  of  Virginia,  considered  that  in  this  resolu- 
tion Missouri  had  for  the  first  time  presented  herself  in  visible 
and  tangible  shape.  ' '  Now  comes  the  question  whether  we  will 
not  merely  repel  her,  but  repel  her  with  scorn  and  contumely." 
He  would  have  had  this  question  of  Missouri  at  an  earlier  stage 
of  the  proceedings  in  this  concrete  shape,  as,  for  instance,  the 
right  of  her  representatives  to  a  seat  on  the  floor.  Missouri's 
vote  was  now  presented  in  her  own  person  and  Congress  had 
no  power  to  reject.  Eandolph  here  laid  down  the  strange 
doctrine  that  the  electoral  college  was  as  independent  of 
Congress  as  Congress  was  of  the  college.  The  duty  of  the 
Houses  in  counting  the  vote  was  purely  ministerial  j  it  is  to 

*  Cotton's  Works  of  Clay,  Vol.  i,  p.  283. 
t  Seaton's  Annals. 


278  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

count  the  votes,  not  to  reject;  there  was  power  to  receive 
the  return,  but  no  power  to  pass  judgment  on  the  validity  of 
the  return.  It  must  count  the  vote ;  but  it  had  no  power  to 
determine  what  were  votes.  ^^  This  was  the  first  instance  in 
which  Missouri  had  knocked  at  the  door  and  demanded  her 
rights.  It  is  now  for  us  to  determine  whether  she  shall  now 
be  one  of  our  commonwealths.  No  doubt  Congress  may  drive 
Missouri  into  the  wilderness,  like  another  son  of  Hagar,  but 
if  we  do  we  drive  her  at  our  own  peril." 

After  this  spirited  and  heated  debate,  in  which  Mr.  Clay 
took  a  prominent  part,  the  resolution  of  Mr.  Floyd  was  laid  on 
the  table,  and  a  message  was  sent  to  the  Senate  that  the  House 
was  again  ready  to  receive  it  for  the  purpose  of  counting  the 
electoral  vote.  I  quote  from  the  Annals  of  Congress:  "The 
Senate  again  appeared  and  took  seats  in  the  House  as  before. 
The  President  of  the  Senate,  in  the  presence  of  both  Houses, 
proceeded  to  open  the  certificates  of  the  electors  of  the  State 
of  Missouri,  which  he  delivered  to  the  tellers,  by  whom  it  was 
read  and  who  registered  the  same. 

"And  the  votes  of  all  the  States  having  been  thus  counted, 
registered,  and  the  list  thereof  compared,  they  were  delivered 
to  the  President  of  the  Senate,  by  whom  they  were  read  as 
already  printed. 

"The  President  of  the  Senate  then,  in  pursuance  of  the  reso- 
lution adopted  by  the  two  Houses,  proceeded  to  announce  the 
vote  as  follows : 

"Were  the  vote  of  Missouri  to  be  counted,  the  result  would 
be  for  James  Monroe,  of  Virginia,  for  President  of  the  United 
States,  231  votes;  if  not  counted,  for  James  Monroe,  of  Vir- 
ginia, 228  votes.  For  Daniel  D.  Tompkins,  of  New  York,  for 
Vice-President  of  the  United  States,  218  votes;  if  not  counted, 
for  Daniel  D.  Tompkins,  of  New  York,  for  Vice-President,  215. 
But  in  either  event,  James  Monroe,  of  Virginia,  has  a  majority 
of  the  votes  of  the  whole  number  of  electors  for  President,  and 
Daniel  D.  Tompkins,  of  New  York,  a  majority  of  the  whole 
number  of  electors  for  Vice-President  of  the  United  States. 

"The  President  of  the  Senate  had  proceeded  thus  far,  or 
nearly  thus  far,  in  the  proclamation  when  Mr.  Floyd,  of  Vir- 
ginia, addressed  the  Chair  and  inquired  whether  the  votes  of 
Missouri  were  or  were  not  counted. 

"Cries  of  < Order!  Order!'  were  so  loud  as  to  drown  Mr. 


THE    MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  279 

Floyd's  voice.  The  President  of  the  Senate  had  hesitated  in 
the  proclamation  on  Mr.  Floyd's  addressing  the  Chair. 

'^Mr.  Eandolph  rose  and  was  addressing  the  Chair,  when 
loud  cries  of  ^  Order !  Order ! '  resounded  from  many  voices. 

'^The  Speaker  pronounced  Mr.  Eandolph  to  be  out  of  order 
and  invited  him  to  take  his  seat. 

^'Mr.  Brush  demanded  that  Mr.  Randolph  should  be  allowed 
to  proceed,  and  declared  his  determination  to  sustain  his  right 
to  do  so. 

"Mr.  Floyd  was  also  declared  out  of  order,  and  though  there 
was  considerable  murmuring  at  the  decision,  order  was  restored 
and  the  President  of  the  Senate  completed  the  announcement 
of  the  election  of  Monroe  and  Tompkins. 

"  Mr.  Randolph  addressed  the  Chair,  but  was  required  to  take 
his  seat.  On  motion,  the  Senate  retired  from  the  Hall.  After 
they  retired,  the  House  being  called  to  order,  Mr.  Randolph, 
who  had  still  retained  the  floor,  was  heard  addressing  the  Chair. 
He  spoke  for  some  time  without  being  distinctly  heard,  owing 
to  the  confusion  in  the  Hall.  ^  He  had,'  he  said,  ^  seen  every 
election  of  President  of  the  United  States  except  that  of  the 
present  chief  magistrate,  and  he  had  never  before  heard  any 
other  form  of  proclamation  than  that  such  was  the  whole  num- 
ber of  votes  given  in.  Sir,  your  election  is  vitiated  j  you  have 
flinched  from  the  question  j  you  have  attempted  to  evade  the 
decision  of  that  which  was  essential  to  the  determination  of  who 
is  or  who  is  not  elected  chief  magistrate  of  the  United  States.' 
And  Mr.  Randolph  concluded  his  remarks  with  resolutions  de- 
claring the  election  illegal.  When  he  suspended  his  remarks 
to  reduce  his  resolutions  to  writing,  a  motion  was  made  and 
carried  to  adjourn  the  House." 

This  scene  well  illustrates  the  hot  and  bitter  strife  which  the 
contest  had  engendered.  There  were  now  but  three  more 
weeks  of  the  session,  and  it  seems  that  the  combatants  for 
Missouri  had  despaired  of  reaching  a  settlement.  The  next 
day,  February  15,  the  formal  resolution  was  again  repeated  by 
Mr.  Clark,  of  New  York,  to  admit  Missouri  on  condition  that 
she  expunge  the  objectionable  clause,  but  the  resolution  was 
laid  over  without  discussion.  The  House  was  tired  of  all  the^ 
old  aspects  of  the  question.  The  next  aspect  of  the  question 
which  excited  discussion  arose  on  the  proposition  of  Mr .  Brown, 
of  Kentucky,  made  February  21,  to  repeal  the  enabling  act  for 


280  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

Missouri.  Missouri  had  not  been  admitted  according  to  the 
terms  of  the  compact,  and  Mr.  Brown  now  demanded,  "  on  the 
principles  of  justice  which  governs  contracts,  that  the  anti- 
slavery  restriction  should  be  raised  from  the  rest  of  the  terri- 
tory. The  consideration  promised  for  this  restriction  has  not 
been  paid  j  the  plighted  faith  of  Congress  for  the  admission  of 
Missouri  has  been  violated  j  then  take  off  the  restriction.  Sir, 
the  course  of  the  majority  can  be  justified  by  no  principle 
of  reason  or  sound  policy,  but  must  rest  for  its  support  on 
pious  fraud."  On  the  day  following  this  speech  of  Brown  Mr. 
Clay  moved  the  appointment  of  a  joint  committee,  to  consist 
of  23  members  on  the  part  of  the  House,  to  take  into  con- 
sideration the  admission  of  Missouri.  The  committee  ap- 
pointed by  ballot  reported,  on  February  24,  the  report  embody- 
ing substantially  the  conclusions  of  the  former  committee  of 
thirteen.  It  was  agreed  that  "  Missouri  shall  be  admitted  into 
this  Union  on  an  equal  footing  with  the  original  States,  upon 
the  fundamental  condition,"  that  the  objectionable  clause  of 
her  constitution  should  "  never  be  construed  to  authorize  the 
passage  of  any  laws,  and  that  no  law  should  ever  be  passed,  by 
which  any  citizen  of  either  of  the  States  of  the  Union  shall  be 
excluded  from  the  enjoyment  of  any  of  the  privileges  and  im- 
munities to  which  such  citizen  is  entitled  under  the  Constitu- 
tion of  the  United  States;  that  the  legislature  of  said  State,  by 
a  solemn  public  act,  shall  declare  the  assent  of  said  State  to 
the  said  fundamental  condition."  Upon  the  transmission  of 
this  act  to  the  chief  executive,  the  President  was  to  proclaim 
the  admission  of  Missouri. 

This  report  came  back  to  the  two  Houses  with  the  unani- 
mous approval  of  the  committee  from  the  Senate  and  with 
almost  the  unanimous  vote  of  the  committee  of  the  House. 
But  it  did  not  pass  the  House  without  another  animated  de- 
bate; and  it  then  passed  only  by  the  close  vote  of  S6  to  82. 
And  the  Missouri  struggle  was  ended.* 

It  was  in  this  last  phase  of  the  struggle — which  seems  only 
like  an  appendix  to  the  real  issue  itself— in  which  Mr.  Clay 
took  such  an  active  and  prominent  part,  a  part  which  helped 
to  gain  for  him  the  title  of  "Pacificator."  It  was  in  this  final 
compromise,  not  in  the  former  and  more  important  one,  that 

^Missouri  agreed  to  the  "fundamental  condition  of  her  admission" 
June  26,  1821,  and  the  President's  proclamation  announcing  her  admission 
was  dated  August  10,  1821. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE WOODBURN. 


281 


Mr.  Clay  was  the  leading  spirit.  The  final  phase  of  the  Mis- 
soiiri  struggle  has  almost  disappeared  from  generarkuowledge. 
The  firsf  struggle  and  compromise  involved  the  chief  merits 
of  the  controversy  and  dealt  with  the  subjects  of  permanent 
interest.  But  it  was  in  the  last  phase  that  the  greatest  ex- 
citement, antagonism,  and  bitterness  were  aroused,  and  it  was 
in  this  stage  that  the  struggle  appeared  the  most  dangerous. 
But  the  excitement  and  danger  which  this  involved  were 
merely  temporary.  GHie^enduT^^nature^  the^issouri  ques- 
tion was  involved,  not  in  the  final  heated  str'uggleTbutlirthe 
original  conlEest  overTestfjction  and  the^compromise  by  which 
this^^w^s  Settled]  The  subsequent  and  permanent  interest 
attaching  to  the  subject  of  this  compromise  calls  for  a  brief 
review  of  the  argument  brought  out  by  the  opposing  forces 
in  the  original  contest  for  restriction. 

THE  DE:8ATE   on   slavery   RESTRICTIONS. 

The  argument  for  the  admission  of  Missouri  without  restric- 
tion rested  chiefly  on  a  strict  constructign  of  the  Constitution.  ' 
The  argument  denied  th^  constitutional  power  of  Congress  to  ♦ 
impose  any  restriction  upon  a  sovereign  State.    If  a  single 
restriction  could  be  imposed,  there  was  no  limit  to  restriction.  * 
A  new  State  might  as  well  be  required  to  abolish  any  other 
municipal  regulation,  or  to  annihilate  any  other  attribute  of  • 
sovereignty.    Then  the  discretion  of  Congress  and  not  the 
Constitution  would  be  the  law  for  the  admission  of  States.  ' 
Mr.  Pinckney.  of  Maryland,  made  the  strongest  argument,  in 
a  notable  speech,  fi?om  this  standpoint.    He  based  his  opposi-  ; 
tion  to  restriction  on  the  constitutional  nature  of  the  Union. 
The  Union  was  a  kind  of  ^Jmternational  compact"  between 
coequal  memliers.    No  terms  can  be  imposed  upon  one  mem- 
ber of  the  partnership  which  are  not  imposed  upon  all.    <'  Con- 
gress may  admit  new  States  into  this  Union" — this  implies 
that  Congress  may  have  power  to  refuse,  but  it  does  not  involve  V 
power  to  exact  terms.    ^^  You  must  look  to  the  result  which  is 
the  object  of  the  power.    Whether  you  will  arrive  at  the  result 
may  depend  upon  your  will,  but  you  can  not  compromise  with 
the  result  intended  and  professed.    What  is  the  proposed  result  ? 
To  admit  a  State  into  this  Union.    What  is  this  Union?    A 
confederacy  of  coequal  sovereigns."    Pinckney  then  affirmed 
that  the  Union  into  which  Missouri  was  to  come  was  to  be  the 
Union  as  originally  established.    Ko  doubt  the  rights  of  the 


r^ 


l^: 


282  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

original  thirteen  States  liad  been  absolutely  equal.  A  dis- 
crimination in  favor  of  any  one,  or  against  another,  would  have 
prevented  the  formation  of  the  Union.  If  this  discrimination 
is  to  meet  Missouri,  then  she  is  admitted  not  to  this  Union  but 
to  an  entirely  different  Union.  The  original  thirteen  States 
had,  and  have  to-day,  the  undoubted  right  to  forbid  or  to 
allow  slavery.  If  this  right  be  not  allowed  to  a  new  State,  the 
Union  no  longer  consists  of  equal  members.  "Admit  or  not, 
as  you  choose;  but  if  you  admit  you  must  take  the  new  mem- 
ber into  this  Union,  into  a  union  where  the  new  State  will 
be  an  equal  companion  with  its  fellows.  Maine  is  to  be  seated 
by  the  side  of  her  respectable  i^arent,  coordinate  in  authority 
and  honor,  but  Missouri  is  to  be  repelled  with  harshness  and 
forbidden  to  come  at  all  unless  with  the  iron  collar  of  servi- 
tude about  her  neck  instead  of  the  civic  crown  of  republican 
freedom  upon  her  brow."*  This  view  considered  Missouri 
already  a  State,  a  State  applying  for  admission,  with  all  the 
rights  of  a  State  already  appertaining  to  her.  On  the  basis  of 
the  States-rights  view  that  the  Union  was  a  compact  between 
the  States  and  that  the  new  State  was  already  as  one  of 
these,  the  argument  of  Pinckney  seems  unanswerable.  But 
the  argument  was  strong  only  on  this  basis,  and  by  consenting 
that  the  rights  of  a  State  pertained  to  the  Territory  of  Mis- 
souri. The  same  argument  made  by  Pindall,  of  Virginia,  is 
summarized  by  Yon  Hoist  as  follows:  '*The  Federal  Govern- 
ment has  only  the  powers  granted  it  by  the  sovereign  States; 
newly  admitted  States  become  members  of  the  Union  with 
equal  rights;  no  other  grants  of  power  can  therefore  be 
demanded  from  them  than  those  voluntarily  made  by  the  orig- 
inal thirteen  States;  no  one  affirms  that  the  thirteen  original 
States  gave  up  the  right  to  decide  whether  slavery  should  be 
permitted  or  prohibited  within  their  borders."t 

The^  .principle  of  nationality   was  not  boldly  asserted  in 
A^     answer  to  this  view,  which  indicates  the  prevalence  and  domi-  •/ 
^^         i^iice  of  the  States-rights  view  of  thenature  of  the  Uni^^^ 
.  ^  .,     k}        It  was  urged,  also,  that  there  had  never  been  a  precedent  •< 
l^<J    j/>  for  the  imposition  of  a  condition  upon  a  State.    The  limita- 

.\Ji  ^  ^ions  placed  on  Louisiana  in  1812  could  riot  be  compared  to 

those  proposed  for  Missouri.  In  the  case  of  Louisiana  it  was 
only  required  that  her  laws  and  constitution  should  conform 

*  Pinckney'8  Speech,  Seaton's  Annals. 

t  See  von  Hoist,  Const.  Hist.  U.  S.,  Vol.  i,  p.  364. 


t 


THE  MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  283 

to  tlie  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  These  conditions, 
and  any  others  that  had  ever  been  imposed  on  any  preceding 
State,  were  minor  and  self-evident  j  this  was  fundamental, 
touching  a  subject  of  abiding  interest,  on  which  the  original 
States  had  full  freedom  of  action.  The  Constitution  rested  on 
the  equality  of  members  of  the  Union  j  it  was  evident  Maine 
and  Missouri  would  not  come  in  as  equal  States  if  Maine  could  A*'^ 
come  in  as  she  pleased  and  Missouri  could  not.  The  argu- 
ment that  the  States  of  the  Northwest  were  so  conditioned  by 
the  Ordinance  of  1787  was  not  analogous;  that  restriction  was 
imposed  in  pursuance  of  a  compact;  Congress  was  thus  only 
carrying  into  effect  the  disposition  of  Virginia  with  reference 
to  this  Territory;  and  it  was,  moreover,  proclaimed  at  a  time 
when  few,  if  any,  settlements  were  formed  within  that  tract 
of  country.  Scott,  of  Missouri,  asserted  that  in  his  opinion  it 
was  "  competent  for  any  of  those  States  admitted  in  pur- 
suance of  the  Ordinance  of  1787  to  call  a  convention  and  so 
alter  their  constitutions  as  to  allow  the  introduction  of  slaves, 
if  they  thought  proper  to  do  so." 

The  friends  of  Missouri  also  urged  that  Louisiana,  of  which 
Missouri  was  a  part,  had  been  obtained  at  the  cost  of  the  whole  a 
Uiiion,  and  it  would  be  unjust  to  deprive  the  people  of  half  ^ 
the  Union  of  the  right  to  colonize  it.    The  rights  of  the 
Southern  people  to  migrate  to  this  Territory  involved  with* 
them  the  right  to  carry  their  slaves.    Besides,  slavery  already,^ 
existed  in  Missouri,  and  the  proposed  restriction  would  be  in  the 
nature  of  an  abolition.    Slavery  existed  in  this  Territory  whem 
it  was  purchased  from  France.    Louisiana  had  been  admitted! 
without  disturbing  this  relation;  why  should  abolition  bej 
attempted  now?    The  inhabitants  of  the  Territory  had  been 
guaranteed  by  the  treaty  of  cession  in  1803  to  all  their  rights  ^v/^ 
of  property,  and  they  had  been  promised  admission.    The 
advocates  of  Missouri  rested  heavily  on  this  phase  of  the  argu- 
ment.   This  treaty  had  applied  to  retain  slavery  in  Louisiana; 
why  not  in  Missouri  ? 

Nor  did  the  contention  for  Missouri  omit  the  plea  of  X 
humanity.  Mr.  Clay,  in  speaking  against  restriction,  jiarticu- 
larly  emphasized  the  plea  that  to  enlarge  the  area  of  slavery 
would  only  ^^ dilute'^  the  evil,  that  it  would  serve  to  relieve 
congestion  and  suffering  in  thickly  populated  slave  areas. 
Slavery  in  Missouri  would  "  not  add  to  the  slave  population 

*  See  Art.  Ill,  Louisiana  treaty. 


\A 


K 


284  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

a  single  soul,  but,  on  the  other  hand,  would  alleviate  the 
unhappy  lot  of  those  hemmed  in  within  too  narrow  lines." 

It  does  not  appear  that  any  of  those  who  argued  for  the  free 

^         admission  of  Missouri  ventured  to  defend  the  institution  of 

'  slavery.    It  was  generally  recognized,  on  that  side  of  the  argu-  ^ 

ment,  as  a  public  evil.    The  defense  for  Missouri  rested  almost 

i~^^^  ^together  on  the  strictly  constitutional  phases  of  the  question. 

-'•^'      They  touched  the  evils  of  slavery  only  in  minor  and  incidental 

ways,  and  only  as  they  were  urged  to  by  the  attacks  of  their 

opponents. 

On  the  other  hand,  thejir^ument  for  restriction  on  Missouri 
rested  mainly  on  the  evils  of  slavery,  and  on  the  political  jus- 
tice and  wisdom  of  restricting  the  slave  area.  The  greater 
part  of  their  speeches  were  occupied  in  portraying  the  evils  of 
slavery,  and  urging  the  expediency  of  restriction.  They  urged 
that  restriction  had  been  the  policy  of  the  fathers  as  seen  in 
the  ordinance  of  1787,  a  policy  which  ought  never  to  have  been 
departed  from  and  which  ought  now  to  be  resumed  and  recog- 
nized once  for  all.  Their  chief  concern  was  to  save  the  terri- 
tory  beyond  the  Mississippi  for  free  soil,  for  the  benefit  of  the 
free  laborer.  ^^Give  such  a  man  the  fee  simple  of  a  barren 
rock,  arid  he  will  cover  it  with  verdure  -,  plr.nt  him  in  a  desert, 
and  fertility  will  spring  around  him.  Convenience  and  con- 
tent are  the  companions  of  his  toil,  and  wealth  follows  in  the 
train  of  industrious  freedom.  On  the  contrary,  the  slave  and 
his  taskmaster,  placed  in  a  land  flowing  with  milk  and  honey, 
would  convert  even  the  Garden  of  Eden  into  a  desert  and  a 
waste.  *  This  from  the  speech  of  Plumer  represents  the  gen- 
eral antislavery  plea. 

The  antislavery  advocates,  however,  did  not  avoid  the  con- 
stitutional argument.    Su^§iiagj._of^  Kew_York,  gave  the  ^ 
?        ^st  summary  of  this  argument     He  rested  his  case  upon  two 
clauses^  iri^tlieCbristitutioii: 

(1)  "Congress  shall  have  power  to  dispose  of  and  make  all 
needful  rules  and  regulations  respecting  the  territory  and  other  y^ 
property  of  the  United  States."  To  make  all  needful  rules 
implies  the  right  to  determine  what  rules  are  needful.  The 
power  is  so  manifest  and  unambiguous  that  commentary  could 
not  make  it  plainer.  It  was  absurd  to  say  that  an  act  enabling 
a  Territory  to  become  a  State  could  not  bind  the  Territory 
because  it  had  already  become  a  State.    The  rights  of  the  / 


*  Plumer's  speech,  Seaton's  Annals. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  285 

original  States  did  not  pertain  to  the  territories  recently 
acquired  until  tlie  exercise  of  those  rights  was  agreed  to  by 
TSngress. 

(2)  "  Congress  may  admit  new  States  into  this  Union."  This 
clearly  implies  the  right  to  refuse,  and  also  to  indicate  upon  ^ 
what  terms  it  will  consent.  The  question  respecting  slavery 
in  the  old  thirteen  States  had  been  decided  and  settled  before 
the  adoption  of  the  Constitution.  This  document  grants  no 
power  to  Congress  to  interfere  with  or  change  what  had  been 
settled  5  the  slave  States  are  therefore  free  to  do  as  they  will. 
But  this  agreement  did  not  guarantee  forever  the  admission  of 
whatever  other  States  might  wish  to  come  in.  On  the  other 
hand,  the  Constitution  gives  powers  of  restriction  to  Congress. 
Since  1808  Congress  had  had  power  to  prohibit  the  migration  nt 
or  importation  of  slaves  into  any  of  the  thirteen  States ;  at  all 
times  under  the  Constitution  Congress  had  power  to  prohibit 
the  migration  of  slaves  to  the  Territories.  The  restrictive  ordi- 
nance of  1787  occurred  under  a  constitution  which  conferred  ^ 
no  such  power.  The  Constitution  of  1787  supplied  the  defect  \ 
of  the  Articles  of  Confederation,  and  the  United  States  ratified 
the  ordinance.  Although  Congress  possess  the  power  of  mak- 
ing the  exclusion  of  slavery  a  condition  of  admission  it  may,  in 
special  cases  and  for  sufScient  reasons,  forbear  to  exercise  this 
power.  This  forbearance  had  been  exercised  in  reference  to 
slavery  in  the  cases  of  Kentucky,  Tennessee,  Louisiana,  and 
Mississippi  5  but  in  these  cases  the  principle  of  imposing  condi- 
tions had  been  recognized.  As  Plumer  jDointed  out,  Kentucky 
had  been  allowed  by  Virginia  to  become  an  independent  State 
only  on  the  express  condition  that  the  ordinance  of  1787  be 
applied  to  her  (except  the  clause  on  slavery)  and  that  she 
would  never  tax  the  land  of  nonresidents  higher  than  resi- 
dents, and  would  leave  the  navigation  of  the  Ohio  free  to  all 
citizens  of  the  United  States.  Ko  matter  by  whom  the  condi- 
tion was  imposed  Kentucky  had  become  a  State  under  condi- 
tions. The  other  side  had  based  their  argument  on  the  idea 
and  definition  of  a  State.  The  word  implied,  according  to 
Clay,  a  political  community  possessing  the  same  rights  and 
powers  and  in  all  respects  resembling  the  original  parties  to 
the  compact.  But  ^ew  Hampshire  retained  the  sovereign 
right  to  tax  the  lands  of  nonresidents  higher  than  the  lands 
of  residents;  in  Kentucky  they  can  not.  She  does  not  possess 
all  the  attributes  of  sovereign  self-government.     The  same 


286  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

conditions  were  imposed  on  Tennessee.  In  the  case  of  Loui- 
siana there  were  still  more  notable  conditions.  In  1804,  when 
the  United  States  took  possession  of  Louisiana,  it  was  esti- 
mated to  contain  about  50,000  whites,  40,000  slaves,  and  2,000 
free  colored  people.  Four-fifths  of  the  whites,  and  nearly  aU 
the  slaves,  were  in  New  Orleans  and  the  adjacent  territory. 
About  1,300  slaves  were  dispersed  throughout  the  country 
now  included  in  the  Arkansas  and  Missouri  territories.  Most 
of  these  were  in  Missouri,  removing  from  the  old  French  set- 
tlements east  of  the  Mississippi  after  the  ordinance  of  1787. 
In  1812  Louisiana  was  admitted  after  Congress  had  stipulated 
that  her  constitution  should  provide  for  civil  and  religious 
liberty;  her  laws,  records,  legislative,  and  judicial  proceedings 
should  be  kept  in  the  English  language,  and  the  lands  of  non- 
residents be  subject  only  to  equal  taxation.  The  habits  of  the 
people  and  the  number  of  slaves  by  whom  the  labor  of  I^ew 
Orleans  territory  was  performed  account  for  the  omission  of 
the  antislavery  restriction.  Certainly  it  could  not  be  the  right 
to  impose  conditions  which  the  friends  of  Missouri  were  object- 
ing to,  but  rather  the  nature  of  the  condition  suggested.  But 
this  very  condition  itself  had  been  imposed  in  the  cases  of  Ohio, 
Indiana,  and  Illinois,  and  expediency  now  demanded  that  this 
condition  be  imposed  on  Missouri.  The  "  equal  rights  "  to 
which  new  States  are  to  be  admitted  mean  equal  federal  rights, 
not  equal  State  rights.  States  are  dissimilar,  and  do  not  all 
exercise  the  same  rights. 

Nor  was  Congress  barred  from  exercising  this  power  by  the 
terms  of  the  Louisiana  treaty.  True,  "  the  inhabitants  of  the 
territory  shall  be  incorporated  in  the  United  States  and  admit- 
ted as  soon  as  possible  according  to  the  principles  of  the  Fed- 
eral Constitution  *  *  *  and  they  shall  be  maintained  and 
protected  in  the  free  enjoyment  of  their  property."  But  the 
treaty  power  was  not  the  admitting  power,  and  it  could  not 
bind  Congress  to  admit  a  new  State  from  this  region  under 
whatever  unexpected,  unrepublican,  and  monarchial  conditions 
it  might  choose  to  present  itself.  Moreover,  the  term  "  prop- 
erty" does  not  include  slaves  in  international  law,  for  all 
nations  do  not  permit  slavery,  and  in  treaties  the  term  "prop- 
erty" does  not  include  them;  when  stipulations  respecting 
slaves  are  desired,  "slaves"  or  "negroes"  is  used.  And  even 
if  it  had  been  the  intention  in  this  stipulation  to  include  slave 
property,  it  was  only  a  temporary  guarantee  applying  to  the 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  287 

property  then  possessed,  not  to  property  acquired  under  the 
laws  of  the  United  States,  but  to  that  acquired  under  the 
laws  of  Louisiana.  It  is  absurd  to  assert  that  this  stipulation 
secured  to  the  slave  owner  and  his  descendants  an  unlimited 
right  of  property  in  his  slaves  and  their  posterity  to  all  eter- 
nity. 

It  had  been  asserted,  also,  that  the  restriction  would  be 
nugatory,  for  the  new  State  in  its  sovereignty  would  annul  its  ^  j 
consent  and  thus  annul  the  article  by  which  slavery  is  excluded. 
This  would  violate  good  faith  j  a  State  might  thus  violate  anyi 
article  of  the  compact  by  which  it  was  admitted.  The  judicial 
power  of  the  United  States  would  be  the  means  by  which  this 
wrong  could  be  prevented. 

Turning  from  the  constitutional  aspects  of  the  question,  Mr. 
^in^considers  the  question  in  its  political  relations.    We  may 
readily  suppose  that  the  argument  which  he  makes  on  this 
phase  of  the  subject  was  the  most  weiglity  of  all  considerations 
with  his  northern  constituency.    In  American  political  history 
two  motives  have  united  to  lead  men  into  political  cooperation  > 
to  resist  the  extension  of  slavery.    In  1854-'55  Sumner  went 
into  the  Eepublican  party  chiefly  because  of  his  moral  hatred 
of  slavery;  Seward  did  so  chiefly  from  political  considerations, 
from  the  sense  of  injustice  which  he  felt  at  the  disproportion 
of  j)olitical  power  which  the  slave  system  gave  to  the  slave 
States  of  the  Union.    In  1820  King  occupied  the  position  ofx 
Seward.    H^  did  not  disregard  the  evils  of  slavery,  but  he 
looked  at  the  question  more  as  a  statesman  than  as  a  moralist  j  ^ 
lie'  particularly  emphasized    the   political    significance   and  [//    ^  tA^^iT^ 
injustice  which  the  admission  of  slave  States  involved.    Kingv  ' 

was  the  antislavery  statesman  of  the  Missouri  conflict.  His 
argument  on  this  occasion  and  on  this  theme  best  sets  forth 
the  merits  of  the  situation  and  it  deserves  to  be  reproduced. 
He  said : 

The  rule  of  representation  had  been  conceded  by  the  free  States  in  1787 
with  reluctance,  largely  in  deference  to  the  maxim  that  representation 
and  taxation  should  go  together.     It  had  been  agreed  by  the  Congress  of 
the  Confederation  and  by  a  majority  of  the  States  that  direct  taxes  should  i 
be  apportioned  on  the  basis  of  all  free  and  three-fifths  of  all  other  per-  ( 
sons.    But  if  this  is  as  fair  a  rule  as  is  practicable  for  apportioning  taxes, 
it  does  not  follow  that  a  like  rule  for  apportioning  representation  would 
be  equally  fair.    The  principle  of  the  English  constitution  on  which  we 
had  opposed  England  was  that  a  colony  or  district  is  not  to  be  taxed  I 
which  is  not  represented,  not  that  its  number  of  representatives  should /| 
be  ascertained  by  its  quota  of  taxes.    This  would  be  to  establish  the  prin- 


A?- 


288  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

ciple  of  property  qualification  and  representation.  A  man  possessing 
twice  as  much  property  as  another  should  pay  twice  as  much  taxes,  but 
no  man,  by  the  American  principle,  should  have  two  votes  to  another's 
y  one;  each  has  but  one  vote  in  the  choice  of  representatives.  If  three- 
fifths  of  the  slaves  are  virtually  represented,  their  owners  obtain  a  dis- 
proportionate power  in  legislation  and  in  the  appointment  of  President  of 
the  United  States.  The  present  House,  in  1819,  consists  of  181  members, 
giving  one  representative  to  every  35,000  of  population.  According  to  the 
last  census  the  whole  number  of  slaves  in  the  United  States  was  1,191,000, 
which  entitled  the  slave  States  to  twenty  representatives  and  twenty 

•  presidential  electors  more  than  they  would  be  entitled  to  if  the  slaves 
were  excluded.  By  the  last  census  Virginia  contained  582,000  free  per- 
sons and  392,000  slaves.  In  any  free  State  582,000  free  persons  would  be 
entitled  to  elect  only  sixteen  representatives,  while  in  Virginia  582,000 
free  persons,  by  the  addition  of  three-fifths  of  the  slaves,  become  entitled 
to  elect,  and  they  do  elect,  twenty-three  representatives,  being  seven 
•  additional  ones  on  account  of  the  slaves.  Thus,  while  35,000  free  persons 
are  requisite  to  elect  one  representative  in  a  free  State,  25,000  may  do  so 

tin  Virginia ;  five  free  persons  in  Virginia  have  as  much  power  in  the  choice 
ojf  representatives  and  in  the  election  of  a  president  as  seven  free  persons 
in  any  of  the  free  States. 

This  inequality  of  power,  it  is  true,  was  understood  at  the  time  of  the 
adoption  of  the  Constitution,  but  at  that  time  no  one  wholly  anticipated 
the  fact  that  the  whole  of  the  United  States  revenue  would  be  derived 
from  indirect  taxes.  The  free  States  reluctantly  acquiesced  in  the  dispro- 
portionate number  of  representatives  thus  given  to  the  slave-holding 
States,  the  greatest  concession  which  was  made  to  secure  the  adoption  of 
the  Constitution,  and  which  is  seen  to  be  greater  now  than  it  was  thought 
to  be  then. 

Great  as  it  was,  the  concession  was  definite  and  it  was  fully  compre- 
hended. It  was  a  settlement  between  the  thirteen  States,  secured  from 
considerations  of  their  actual  conditions  and  from  the  necessity  which  all 
felt  of  reforming  the  then  Federal  Government.  The  equality  of  rights, 
which  includes  an  equality  of  burdens,  is  a  vital  principle  in  our  theory  of 
government  and  it  should  be  jealously  preserved.  The  departure  from 
this  principle  in  the  disproportionate  power  and  influence  allowed  to  the 
slave-holding  States  was  a  necessary  sacrifice  to  the  establishment  of  the 
Constitution.  The  effect  of  this  Constitution  has  been  obvious  in  the  pre- 
ponderance it  has  given  to  the  slave-holding  States  over  the  other  States 
of  the  Union.    Nevertheless,  it  is  an  ancient  settlement,  and  faith  and 

t  honor  stand  pledged  not  to  disturb  it.  But  the  extension  of  this  dispro- 
portionate power  to  the  new  States  would  be  unjust  and  odious.  The 
W-^rk'¥-i!ka     TirT^i-vork       ■*%i-k"rrr^%T»     T«Trf-»i-il/1        T*  y%       *^  Tvw«I  ^  i-»^y^       n  t^ /I      TxrTirf-ka/^       VkiTW*/!  ziT^  a     T^rr/MTl/^       r\A 


States  whose  power  would  be  abridged,  and  whose  burdens  would  be 
increased  by  the  measure,  can  not  be  expected  to  consent  to  it ;  and  we 
may  hope  that  the  other  States  are  too  magnanimous  to  insist  on  it. 

It  is  clear  that  the  importance  of  this  aspect  of  the  ques- 
tion was  appreciated  by  southern  advocates.  The  balance  of 
power  in  the  Senate  seemed  to  them  to  involve  their  political 
existence.* 

*  Benton's  Debates,  Vol.  vi,  p.  559.    (See  Tucker's  speech.) 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN. 


289 


We  have  said  that  King  did  not  disregard  the  moral  aspects 
of  the  question.  It  had  been  asserted  that  only  domestic 
slaves  would  be  taken  to  Missouri,  and  thus  slavery  would  be 
"diluted."  With  the  slaves  thus  dispersed  their  condition 
would  be  bettered,  their  numbers  would  be  the  same,  and 
their  health  and  comfort  would  be  increased.  Jefferson  and 
Clay  had  both  made  this  plea.*  King,  and  Eoberts,  of  Penn- 
sylvania, both  pointed  out  that  the  extension  could  only  result 
in  an  extension  of  the  market,  an  increase  in  the  price,  and 
an  impulse  to  the  foreign  supply.  The  theory  of  "dilution" 
was  disproved  by  thousands  of  fresh  slaves  who,  in  violation 
of  our  laws,  are  annually  imported  into  Alabama,  Louisiana, 
and  Mississippi.  "  Eenewed  efforts,  new  laws,  new  penalties," 
said  King,  "will  not  put  an  end  to  the  slave  trade;  so  long  as 
markets  are  open  to  the  purchase  of  slaves,  so  long  they  will 
be  supplied;  and  so  long  as  we  permit  the  existence  of  slavery 
in  our  jfrontier  States  so  long  slave  markets  will  exist.  The 
plea  of  humanity  is  not  admissible.  No  one  who  has  seen  will 
ever  believe  that  the  slave  is  made  happier  by  separating  him 
from  family  and  home  and  taking  him  to  a  distant  State." 

"Slavery,"  King  concludes, "  can  not  exist  in  Missouri  with- 
out the  consent  of  Congress.  The  question  may  therefore  be 
considered,  in  certain  lights,  as  a  new  one.  The  Territory  of 
Missoa^  *  is  beyond  our  ancient  limits,  and  the  inquiry  whether 
slavery  shall  exist  there  is  open  to  many  of  the  arguments 
that  might  be  employed  had  slavery  never  existed  within  the 
United  States.  It  is  a  question  of  no  ordinary  importance. 
Freedom  and  slavery  are  the  parties  which  stand  this  day 
before  the  Senate;  and  upon  its  decision  the  empire  of  the  one 
or  the  other  will  be  established  in  the  new  State  which  we  are 
about  to  admit  into  the  Union."  t 

PERMANENT  SIGNIFICANCE  OF  THE  STRUGGLE. 

Let  us  now  look  to  the  significance  of  this  struggle : 

1.  In  the  first  place  it  should  be  noticed  that  the  immediate 

contest  was  not  over  the  question  of  the  prohibition  of  slavery  in 

the  Territories.    The  great  struggle  lasted  for  nearly  three 

years,  but  the  final  proposition  which  closed  the  controversy 

*Jeffer8on's  Works,  Vol.  vii,  p.  194. 

tThis  speech  of  King's  is  not  reported  in  the  Annals.    The  author  fur- 
nished it  from  notes  and  memory  to  Niles's  Kegister,  '*  substantially  as  he 
made  it."    (See  Niles,  Vol.  xvii,  p.  215, 1819.) 
S.  Mis.  104 19 


290  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

and  which  prohibited  slavery  in  almost  all  the  then  Federal 

territory  was  probably  not  debated  more  than  three  hours.   It 

was  accepted  without  discussion  by  the  great  bulk  of  the 

advocates  of  Missouri's  free  admission.    Very  few  slavery 

extensionists  questioned  the  right  and  power  of  Congress  to 

prevent  the  spread  of  slavery  to  the  Territories.  That  question, 

in  the  minds  of  those  who  opposed  restriction  in  Missouri,  was 

incidental  to  the  question  of  the  right  of  Congress  to  impose 

conditions  upon  a  State.    Incidentally  the  question  of  slavery 

in  the  Territories  came  up  in  the  case  of  Arkansas,  a  country 

<{\  south  of  Missouri,  in  which  slavery  was  already  a  fact.    The 

4j>^  i    restrictionists  themselves  recognized  the  fact  that  the  plain, 

^   >'      ^     simple  issue  of  limiting  the  area  of  human  slavery  would  be 

''\^^  ^y^^'        strengthened  by  bringing  it  before  the  country  unincumbered 

^  %V^  "  J^    *  with  the  question  of  imposing  conditions  on  a  State,  though 

\^^  ^   I  most  of  them  never  wavered  in  their  belief  that  conditions 

u>  ^      ^  might  be  imposed.    On  the  one  hand  it  was  only  Southern 

•>^   A^      zealots  who  denied  to  Congress  the  power  to  prohibit  slavery 

»^  V  i^      T.       in  the  Territories;  on  the  other  hand  many  in  the  North  who 

j^  15\  t*   ^     opposed  slavery  believed  that  Congress  might  not  impose 

J"  \   conditions  upon  a  State.    In  the  cabinet  of  Monroe,  in  which 

y^     t'^         sat  Wirt,  Crawford,  and  Calhoun,  it  was  unanimously  agreed 

"*  'il^i^    y      *^^*  Congress  had  power  to  prohibit  slavery  in  the  Territories. 


,  But  John  Quincy  Adams,  also  a  member  of  that  cabinet,  who 

^^    V  hated  slavery  with  all  the  strength  of  his  soul,  thought  it  was 

V  '] unconstitutional  to  bind  a  State  by  conditions.    "This  is  a 

^  I  question,"  he  says,  "between  the  rights  of  human  nature  and 

/  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States." 

Feeling  the  loss  of  support  for  their  purpose  from  such  views, 
the  friends  of  restriction  in  the  interest  of  human  freedom  and 
the  "rights  of  human  nature"  made  repeated  attempts  to  pre- 
sent their  cause  unincumbered  by  the  rights  of  a  State.  After 
the  failure  of  their  effort  to  bar  slavery  from  Arkansas,  in 
which  the  conditions  were  all  against  them,  the  restrictionists 
attempted  to  force  to  the  front  the  pure,  unincumbered  issue 
of  restriction.  On  D  ecember  14, 1819,  very  early  in  the  session  of 
of  the  Sixteenth  Congress,  before  the  Missouri  bill  could  have 
come  before  the  House  for  discussion,  Mr.  Taylor,  of  Kew  York, 
the  champion  of  the  Restrictionists,  secured  the  appointment  of 
a  committee  to  consider  the  expediency  of  restricting  slavery  in 
all  Territories  west  of  the  Mississippi,  and  he  then  moved  the 
postponement  of  the  Missouri  bill  until  this  committee  might 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  2^1 

have  an  opportunity  to  report.  It  was  then  that  Scott,  the 
Delegate  from  Missouri,  said  that  if  the  Missouri  bill  ultimately 
failed,  the  people  of  that  Territory  would  form  a  government 
of  their  own  without  waiting  to  apply  again  to  Congress. 
Taylor  was  disappointed  in  the  conduct  of  the  committee  on 
general  restriction;  a  majority  of  its  members  were  not  ready 
to  cooperate  with  him  for  fear,  it  is  reasonable  to  say,  that 
their  action  would  prejudice  the  case  of  Missouri.  The  com- 
mittee was  discharged  at  Taylor^s  request,  who  then  moved, 
December  28,  still  before  the  Missouri  bill  came  up  in  the  Six- 
teenth Congress,  that  a  committee  be  appointed  with  instruc- 
tions to  report  a  bill  prohibiting  the  further  admission  of  slaves 
into  the  Territories  west  of  the  Mississippi.  This  was  done  in 
order  to  present  alone  the  single  issue  of  slavery  restriction 
and  to  get  the  question  before  the  House  in  a  distinct  shape. 
Mr.  Lowndes,  of  South  Carolina,  Mr.  Ehea,  of  Tennessee,  and 
Mr.  Holmes,  of  Massachusetts,  all  of  whom  afterwards  voted 
for  Territorial  restriction  under  other  conditions,  objected  to 
this  resolution  on  the  ground  that  it  was  unbecoming  in  the 
House  to  express  an  opinion  on  a  subject  where  views  so  con- 
flicted until  the  question  was  fairly  before  the  House;  the 
resolution,  in  the  view  of  these  gentlemen,  took  the  merits  of 
the  question  for  granted  and  would  commit  the  House  to  the 
restrictive  policy;  this  they  were  not  willing  to  have  done 
while  the  Missouri  bill  was  pending.  Their  course  on  the 
policy  of  general  restriction  was  determined  by  its  bearing  on 
Missouri's  admission.  Mr.  Taylor  then  explained  that  he  sup- 
posed a  bill  would  be  the  way  for  the  House  to  come  at  the 
question.  In  directing  the  committee  to  prepare  a  bill  he  did 
not  intend  the  House  to  express  an  opiuion  on  tlie  principle  of 
the  bill.  He  presumed  no  member — he  knew  of  none^doubted 
the  constitutional  power  of  Congress  to  impose  such  a  restric- 
tion on  the  Territories ;  the  only  question  here  was  one  of  expe- 
dfency.  On  that  question  of  expediency,  if  it  had  been  fairly 
presented  as  Taylor  desired,  there  would  have  been  a  differ- 
ence  of  opinion,  for  the  slavery  question  affected  the  interests  "'^ 
of  men;  but  no  considerable  body  of  opinion  appeared  to 
combat,  with  any  approach  to  success,  the  sovereign  power  of  f^ 
the  nation  to  control  the  Territories.  Although  it  was  asserted 
by  extreme  slavery  advocates  that  the  rights  of  property  per- 
tained to  the  ownership  of  the  slave,  guaranteeing  its  protec- 
tion in  the  Territories  equally  with  all  other  property,  yet  aU 


292  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

the  burden  of  precedent  in  the  Missouri  struggle  and  its  settle- 
ment favored  the  constitutional  power  of  Congress  to  exclude 
slavery  from  the  Territories.  The  conflict  of  debate  was  upon 
another  question,  and  its  settlement  seemed  to  take  this  view 
for  granted.  The  power  of  Congress  over  the  Territories 
included  this  prohibition. 

2.  In  the  second  place,  the  contest  was  entirely  unexpected, 

without  any  premonition  of  its  coming.    This  Mr.  Blaine  calls 

tlie  **most  remarkable  fact"  in  all^the  excitement  attending 

tEe  question.    The  last  real  political  contest  in  the  country  had 

been  in  1812,  when  Madison  had  beaten  DeWitt  Clinton. 

Monroe  had  been  elected  both  in  1816  and  1820  practically 

without  opposition,  and  the  Federalists  in   the  latter  year 

disappeared  from  the  political  arena.    "•  The  discussion  of  the 

Missouri  question,"  says  John  Quincy  Adams,  '^disclosed  a 

I     secret;  it  revealed  the  basis  for  a  new  organization  of  parties. 

\    Here  was  a  new  party  ready  formed — terrible  to  the  whole 

Q  \   Union,  but  portentiously  terrible  to  the  South — threatening  in 

W     y       I  its^  progress  the  emancipation  of  all  their  slaves,  threatening 

>^         \  in  its  immediate  effect  that  southern  domination  which  has 

\      V  V       *  swayed  the  Union  for  the  last  twenty  years."*    The  unset- 

^Y  tiement  of  the  compromise  as  arranged  in  1820  brought  back 


exactly  these  conditions,  and  fulfilled  the  prophecy  a  genera- 
tion later. 
3.  In  the  third  place,  the  struggle  indicated  a  notable  change 
\    in  the  southern  mind  on  the  slavery  question,  and  that  a  slave 
\    power  was  forming  which  would  attempt  to  control  all  legisla- 
tion of  the  federal  Union  affecting  slavery. 

<^The  philosophic  antislavery  sentiments  of  the  Eevolutionary 
period,"  says  Mr.  Schurz,  "had  disappeared,  or  were  fast  disap- 
pearing; they  had  ceased  to  have  any  influence  upon  current 
thought  in  the  South."  t 
Vi^^^",     \        This  change  in  the  southern  mind,  both  as  to  the  moral  and 
*^    ^    the  economic  aspect  of  slavery,  had  been  brought  about  chiefly 
^'v  ^  I    by  the  growth  in  the  cotton  plant.    Eli  Whitney  invented  the 

cotton  gin  in  1793.|  Cotton  had  been  exported  from  the  United 
States  for  the  first  time  in  1791.  When  Jay  negotiated  his 
treaty  with  England  in  1795,  he  evidently  did  not  know  that 
cotton  was  an  obj  ect  of  export  in  America.    In  1800  the  expor ta- 

*  Memoirs,  Vol.  iv.,  p.  529. 
tSchurz's  Life  of  Clay,  Vol.  i,  p.  172. 
tl&id.,  p.  173. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  293 

tion  of  cotton  from  tlie  United  States  was  valued  at  $5,700,000; 
in  1820  the  value  of  the  cotton  export  was  nearly  $20,000,000, 
almost  all  of  it  the  product  of  slave  labor.*    This  Involved 
an  increase  in  the  price  of  slaves.    Br.  Yon  Hoist  pointedly 
reminds  us  that  the  vague  dreams  of  emancipation  in  which 
the  people  of  the  northern  slave  States  indulged  during  the 
early  years  of  the  Eepublic  had  a  realistic  basis.    Slave  labor 
was  very  unsatisfactory.    This  was  certainly  not  so  in  the 
South  after  the  cotton  ginl'^The  value  of  slaves  was  thus 
trebled  in  twenty  years.   We  are  reminded  again  of  John  Adams' 
assertion  in  the  Revolutionary  Congress,  that  "  reason,  justice, 
equity  never  had  weight  enough  on  the  face  of  the  earth  to  ^    "H^ 
govern  the  councils  of  men;  it  is  interest  alone  which  does  it, 
and  it  is  interest  alone  which  can  be  trusted."    The  South  had 
begun  to  draw  a  threefold  greater  moneyed  interest  from  ( 
slavery,  and  <^ under  such  circumstances"  it  is  easy  for  men  to  (       ^  ^ 
convince  themselves  that  an  institution  so  conducive  to  their  {     i^  K> 
material  interests  is  not  so  wicked  and  hurtful  after  all.    This  /     -,0^ 
was  what  the  South  thought  as  they  were  reminded  of  the  \ 
anti slavery  sentiments  of  their  revolutionary  father. 

There  was  no  such  change  of  opinion,  because  no  such  rela- 
tive'cHaiige  of  conditions,  in  the  Korth.  There  slavery  had 
not  yet  become,  or  rather  was  ceasing  to  become,  a  subject  of 
controversy.  It  had  disappeared  in  their  States,  and  they  had 
taken  it  for  granted  that  it  would  soon  disappear  everywhere. 
It  was,  therefore, "  a  great  surprise"  again  to  quote  Mr.  Schurz 
in  his  life  of  Clay,  «^  to  most  Northern  people  that  so  natural  a 
proposition  (as  the  restriction  of  slavery  in  Missouri)  should 
be  resisted  so  fiercely  on  the  part  of  the  South."  They  were 
surprised  at  the  spirit  with  which  slavery  was  defended, 
l^or,  in  the  Missouri  debates,  referred  to  the  authority  of  an 
honorable  representative  from  Virginia  for  saying  that  the 
sixth  article  in  the  ordinance  of  1787  prohibiting  slavery  in 
the  Northwest  was  proposed  by  a  delegate  from  that  State. 
That  ordinance  was  passed  by  a  unanimous  vote.  Its  enact- 
ment was  then  considered  by  all  the  States,  slaveholding  as 
well  as  nonslaveholding,  not  only  as  within  the  legitimate 
powers  of  Congress,  but  especially  recommended  by  considera- 
tions of  public  policy.  Was  that  the  sentiment  of  1820  ?  Pub- 
lic journals  had  denounced  the  restrictive  feature  of  the  ordi- 
nance; public  men  in  both  Houses  of  Congress  proclaimed  it  a 

*  Schurz's  Clay,  Vol.  i,  p.  173. 


^fe 


<-lfi 


294  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

rank  usurpation ;  and  one  legislative  Assembly  liad  threatened 
resistance  if  Congress  should  apply  the  same  principle  to  Mis- 
souri. No  new  State  had  been  admitted  to  the  Union  since 
1791  which  had  not  established  slavery  by  law,  except  those  in 
which  it  was  prohibited  by  Congress.  The  Missouri  debate 
revealed  thie  fact  that  the  slaveholding  spirit  was  gaining 
ground  in  the  Union. 

4.  In  the  fourth  i)lace,  the  struggle  and  the  compromise 
afford  the  first  clear  demarcation  between  the  sections.  From 
this  time  the  equilibrium  of  political  power  was  a  matter  of 
first  concern  to  a  section  of  States  and  to  a  powerful  political 
interest.  Mason  and  Dixon's  line  is  extended  toward  the 
west,  and  now  marks  a  political  division.  The  slave  States 
were  now,  and  for  the  first  time,  clearly  separated  from  the 
free.  A  geographical  line  dividing  the  sections  was  estab- 
ifshed.  The  slaveholders  had  ceased  to  look  to  the  ultimate 
extinction  and  were  now  looking  to  the  perpetuation  of  slavery. 

I  To  them  the  question  of  sectional  power  had  become  one  of 

first  importance,  and  to  that  end  came  the  necessity  for  more 

I  slave  States.    Here  they  first  came  to  believe  that  the  issue 

5  of  this  struggle  for  moreslave  States  involved  their  political 

J  destiny  and  identity.    This  is  the  true  significance  of  the  Mis- 

)  souri  question.    It  was  this  aspect  of  the  question  which  gave 

Hr.  Jefferson  alarm,  and  which  caused  him  to  say  that  the 

trouble  sounded  "like  an  alarm  bell  rung  at  midnight."    He 

wrote  to  a  member  of  Congress  at  the  time:  "The  Missouri 

question  is  the  most  portentous  one  which  has  ever  threatened 

the  Union.    In  the  gloomiest  hour  of  the  Eevolutionary  war 

I  never  had  any  apprehensions  equal  to  those  which  I  feel  from 

this  source." 

5.  In  the  fifth  place,  and  as  a  corollary  of  this,  it  became 
I  evident  in  this  discussion  that  whenever  slavery  came  to  be 

the  dominant  issue  in  American  politics,  or  when  its  interests 
should  be  seriously  threatened  by  national  action,  the  slave 
SStes  would  solidify  in  its  defense.  Even  then  Southerners 
had  arrived  at  the  blind  and  fatal  conclusion  that  a  struggle 
for  slavery  meant  a  struggle  "for  their  political  existence."* 
For  the  first  time  the  "South"  comes  to  be  identified  with 
slavery.  Their  public  men  had  not  yet  come  to  defend  the 
institution  as  a  "positive  goodj"  public  opinion  seemed  yet  to 


*  Tucker,  of  Virginia;  Debates  of  Congress. 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  295 

allow  the  concession  from  their  advocates  in  Congress  that 
slavery  was  a  great  evil  to  be  deplored.  As  we  have  seen, 
Clay  apologized  for  consenting  to  its  continuance  in  Missouri 
by  calling  extension  ^'diffusion,"  and  upon  the  weak  plea  that 
thus  the  evil  would  be  diluted  and  the  oppression  and  wrong 
to  other  slaves  alleviated.  But  at  this  time  was  first  deafly  | 
marked  the  habit  which  prevailed  subsequently  for  forty  years,  ^ 
that  whenever  an  attack  was  made  in  Congressional  halls 
against  slavery,  or  any  part  of  the  slave  system,  or  an  assertion 
of  the  right  of  the  black  man  to  life  and  liberty,  every  such 
utterance  was  resented  by  Southern  men  as  an  attack  upon  the 
"South."  It  here  appeared  that  slavery  was  to  be  defended 
by  the  rights  of  States  and  the  rights  of  property.  The  equi- 
librium of  political  power  for  the  South  meant  equilibrium  for 
slavery  5  equal  rights  in  the  Territories  for  the  South  meant 
equal  rights  for  slavery.  Unfortunately  for  that  great  people 
and  the  interests  of  mankind  the  interests  of  human  slavery 
now  first  confronted  the  nation  with  a  solid  South.  ' '1.t^iiil 

6.  In  the  sixth  place,  besides  the  fact  that  a  precedent  was 
set  in  favor  of  the  right  oF  Congress  to  restrict  slavery  in  the 
Territories,  the  burden  of  argumenj^roveff  the  right  of  Con-  .  ^z- 
gress,  if  proof  were  needed,  to  impose  conditions  upon  a  State.  |  "^ 
Ko  one  now,  so  far  as  we  know,  questions  that  right.  The 
extent  to  which  it  is  now  exercised  by  the  General  Government 
is  very  much  greater  than  was  dreamed  of  by  the  Federal  leg- 
islators in  the  early  days  of  the  Eepublic.  The  earliest  ena- 
bling acts,  those  admitting  Kentucky  and  Vermont,  simply  / 
consented  to  the  admission  of  the  new  States.  These  lands  ^ 
never  belonged  to  the  Union  as  Territories.  Kow,  in  the  admis- 
sion of  a  State  we  have  an  elaborate  law  undertaking  to  limit 
the  power  of  the  people  over  their  State  constitution.  These 
restraining  acts  were  originally  confined  to  i)rovisions  setting 
aside  lands  and  townships  for  schools,  universities,  and  roads  j 
but  recently  an  enabling  act  went  so  far  as  to  deny  the  fran- 
chise to  all  people  who  profess  the  Mormon  faith.  While  these 
laws  can  not  be  binding  upon  the  people  of  the  States,  and  can 
not  prevent  their  amendment  of  their  constitution  in  direct 
contravention  of  the  enabling  acts,  they  indicate  a  general 
acceptance  of  the  idea,  an  understanding  that  the  General  Gov- 
ernment, or  the  nation,  has  the  right  to  insist  that  a  Territory 
seeking  statehood  shall  possess  certain  qualifications  and  make 
certain  pledges  before  it  can  be  admitted  to  become  a  member 


296  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

of  the  Union.  And  there  is  no  doubt  that  a  very  large  number 
of  the  people  would  consider  the  subsequent  adoption  of  a  con- 
stitutional amendment  opposed  to  the  provisions  of  the  enabling 
act  as  a  breach  of  faith.  Such  an  act  might  be  set  aside  by 
the  national  judiciary.  Subsequent  history  has  vindicated 
those  in  1820  who  insisted  on  the  right  to  impose  conditions  on 
an  incoming  State. 

"  7.  Lastly,  in  this  controversy  we  stand  at  the  threshold  of 
the  struggle  that  produced  the  civil  war.  Here  the  issues  were 
defined.  It  was  here  the  nation  first  definitely  met  the  crisis. 
John  Quincy  Adams  recognized  with  prophetic  wisdom  the 
importance  of  that  crisis.  "Never  since  human  sentiments  and 
human  conduct  were  influenced  by  human  speech,"  says  he, 
"was  there  a  theme  for  eloquence  like  the  free  side  of  this 
question  now  before  the  Congress  of  the  United  States.  Time 
can  only  show  whether  the  contest  may  ever  be  with  equal 
advantage  renewed."  Time,  alas,  showed  that  an  equal  advan- 
tage for  the  cause  of  free  soil  never  came  again.  In  the  begin- 
ning of  the  spread  of  an  evil  is  the  time  to  resist  it.  States- 
manship and  foresight  were  not  then  wanting,  but  their  warn- 
ings were  unheeded,  their  counsels  were  not  dominant.  T^ 
if  only  the  policy  of  the  restrictionists  had  then  been  adopted, 
if  this  policy  had  been  established  never  again  to  be  brought 
into  question,  an  historic  imagination  may  lead  us  to  assert 
that  the  long  years  of  painful  controversy  might  have  been 
escaped,  the  four  years  of  disunion  and  civil  strife  might  have 
T5een  avoided.  In  that  case,  as  far  as  human  insight  can  dis- 
cover, freedom  would  have  become  national  and  slavery  would 
have  been  easily  confined  to  local  limits.  The  contest  did  not 
^  concern  Missouri  alone.  Two  principles  were  at  stake,  the 
-  -iprinciple  of  free  labor  and  nationality.  "  At  the  last  jmi>ment;" 
says  Von  Hoist,  in  the  night  between  March  2  and  3^  1820, 
I  "free  labor  and  nationality  yielded  to  slavery  and  State 
I  soveignty."  How  important,  then,  it  was  to  have  done  what 
tiincoln  said  thirty-eight  years  later  must  be  done  for  the  sal- 
vation of  the  Eepublic,  "  to  arrest  the  further  spread  of  slavery 
and  to  place  it  where  the  public  mind  shall  rest  in  the  belief 
that  it  is  in  the  course  of  ultimate  extinction."  "A  house 
,'  divided  against  itself  can  not  stand."  Our  National  House  was 
I  now  for  the  first  time  clearly  divided  against  itself.  In  the 
Missouri  struggle  the  issue  was  definitely  made  up  which  after- 
ward passed  beyond  the  era  of  compromise,  and  the  South 


^^ 


y 


THE   MISSOURI   COMPROMISE — WOODBURN.  297 

came  to  the  defense  of  slavery  as  an  institution  on  whicli  she 
staked  her  hopes  of  prosperity  and  power.  Tallmadge,  who 
offered  the  restrictive  amendment,  recognized  the  nature  of  the 
conflict.  He  believed  that  the  nation  was  standing  in  the  nick 
of  time  5  that  if  the  evil  of  slavery  was  ever  to  be  arrested 
Iffien  was  the  time  to  arrest  it.    He  said : 

Has  it  already  come  to  this:  That  in  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States — that  in  the  legislative  councils  of  the  American  Republic  the  sub- 
ject  of  slavery  has  become  the  subject  of  so  much  feeling,  of  such  deli- 
cacy, of  such  danger,  that  it  can  not  safely  be  discussed  ?  Are  members 
•who  express  their  sentiments  upon  this  subject  to  be  accused  of  talking 
to  the  gallaries  with  intent  to  excite  a  servile  war,  and  of  meriting  the 
fate  of  Arbuthnot  and  Ambrister?  Are  we  to  be  told  of  the  dissolution 
of  the  Union,  of  civil  war,  and  of  seas  of  blood  ?  And  yet,  with  such 
awful  threatenings  before  us  do  gentlemen  in  the  same  breath  insist  upon 
the  encouragement  of  this  evil,  upon  the  extension  of  this  monstrous 
scourge  of  the  human  race  ?  An  evil  so  fraught  with  such  dire  calamities 
to  us  as  individuals  and  to  our  nation,  and  threatening  in  its  progress  to 
overwhelm  the  civil  and  religious  institutions  of  the  country,  with  the 
liberties  of  the  nation,  ought  at  once  to  be  met  and  to  be  controlled.  If 
its  power,  its  influence,  and  its  impending  dangers  have  already  arrived 
at  such  a  point  that  it  is  not  safe  to  discuss  it  upon  this  floor,  and  it  can- 
not be  considered  as  a  proper  subject  for  general  legislation,  what  will  be 
the  result  when  it  is  spread  through  your  widely  extended  domain  ?  Its 
present  threatening  agpect,  and  the  violence  of  its  supporters,  so  far  from 
inducing^e  to  yield  to  its^grogress,  prompt  me  to  resist  its  march.  Now 
18  the  time,  TtmusFwoiy  be  met^  and  thejextensioiT 
be  prevented,  or  the  micasion  is  irrevocably  lost  and  the  evil  can  never  be 
controlled. 

When  we  come  to  view  the  repeal  of  the  Missouri  compro- 
mise in  1854,  to  find  new  lands  for  slavery,  we  appreciate  the 
force  of  these  words  of  the  early  restrictionist. 


XXL— THE  FIRST  LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA. 


By  HON.  WILLIAM  WIRT  HENRY, 
OF  RICHMOND,  VIRGINIA. 


299 


THE  FIRST  LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA. 


By  William  Wirt  Henry. 


A  stranger  visiting  for  the  first  time  our  Eepublic  during 
this  year  of  grateful  celebration  of  the  discovery  of  America, 
can  not  fail  to  be  struck  with  its  millions  of  people  who  are 
educated,  intelligent,  and  prosperous,  and  who  are  not  only 
contented  with  their  form  of  government,  but  devoted  to  it. 
If  the  visitor  be  unfamiliar  with  our  history,  he  will  naturally 
inquire  for  the  vital  principle  which  has  sustained  and  devel- 
oped our  civil  institutions,  and  brought  them  and  our  people 
into  such  happy  and  prosperous  relations.  To  such  an  inquiry 
he  will  soon  find  an  answer.  He  will  be  informed  that  the 
principle  which  pervades  our  institutions,  and  to  which  we  owe 
our  happiness  as  a  people,  is  the  right  of  the  people  to  govern 
themselves,  a  right  exercised  through  their  chosen  representa- 
tives. The  exercise  of  this  right  is  based  upon,  and  stimulates 
the  growth  of,  the  intelligence  and  virtue  of  the  people,  and  as 
it  involves  the  right  of  the  majority  to  rule,  it  exemplifies  the 
Christian  doctrine  of  the  brotherhood  of  mankind,  and  of  their 
equality  in  the  sight  of  God,  who  is  no  respector  of  persons. 
It  involves  also  another  great  principle,  namely,  that  rulers 
are  but  servants  of  the  people;  and  this  was  also  taught  by 
the  founder  of  Christianity,  when  he  said  to  his  disciples 
"whosoever  of  you  will  be  the  chiefest  shall  be  servant  of  all.'' 

The  Spaniards  and  French,  who  settled  in  America,  brought 
with  them  the  impress  of  imperialism,  which  had  cursed  the 
countries  from  whence  they  came.  The  English,  on  the  contrary, 
who  settled  these  United  States,  brought  with  them  the  free 
institutions  of  England,  which  had  grown  up  under  the  rights 
and  privileges  of  the  House  of  Commons,  first  firmly  established 
in  the  reign  of  Edward  I.  This  great  monarch  not  only  con- 
firmed the  great  charter,  which  had  been  wrung  from  the 
treacherous  John  at  Eunymede,  but  he  converted  into  an  estab- 
lished law  a  privilege  of  which  the  people  had  previously  only 

301 


302  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

a  precarious  enjoyment,  namely,  the  sole  and  exclusive  right 
of  Parliament  to  levy  taxes. 

The  memorable  words  of  this  statute,  which  purports  to  be 
the  language  of  the  King,  were  "Nullum  tallagium  vel  auxilium 
per  nos,  vel  haeredes  nostros  in  regnonostro,  ponatur  sue  leve- 
tur,  sine  voluntate  et  assensu  archie-piscoporum,  episcoporum, 
comtum,  baronum,  militum,  burgensium,  et  aliorum  liberorum 
hominum  de  regno  nostro."  "  A  most  important  statute  this  " 
says  DeLolme,  "which,  in  conjunction  with  Magna  Oharta, 
forms  the  basis  of  the  English  constitution.  If  from  the 
latter  the  English  are  to  date  the  origin  of  their  liberty,  from 
the  former  they  are  to  date  the  establishment  of  itj  and  as  the 
Great  Charter  was  the  bulwark  that  protected  the  freedom  of 
individuals,  so  was  the  statute  in  question  the  engine  which 
protected  the  charter  itself,  and  by  the  help  of  which  the  peo- 
ple were  thenceforth  to  make  legal  conquests  over  the  authority 
of  the  crown."  This  powerful  weapon  of  defense  and  offense 
was  like  the  sword  of  the  Archangel,  of  which  we  are  told: 

*    *     *    The  sword 
Of  Michael  from  the  armory  of  God 
Was  given  him  tempered  so,  that  neither  keen 
Nor  solid  might  resist  that  edge. 

With  it  the  English  people,  after  many  a  stubborn  conflict 
with  the  royal  prerogative,  had,  in  the  beginning  of  the  seven- 
teenth century,  so  firmly  established  their  political  rights,  that 
they  were  recognized  as  the  freest  people  upon  the  earth.  Not 
that  their  struggle  was  entirely  ended,  but  so  powerful  had 
become  the  Commons,  that  usurping  kings  found  themselves 
engaged  in  an  unequal  conflict,  in  which  a  Charles  lost  his 
head,  and  a  James  his  kingdom,  and  thenceforth  the  kings  of 
England  were  forced  to  govern  according  to  the  provisions 
of  the  bill  of  rights  of  1688-'89,  under  which  the  supremacy 
of  Parliament  was  established. 

The  English  colonists  who  first  settled  in  America  at  James- 
town brought  with  them,  by  their  charter,  all  the  rights  of 
Englishmen.  But  local  self-government  was  not  accorded  to 
the  Virginians  at  first.  They  suffered  great  hardships  for 
twelve  years  under  what  resembled  a  military  government, 
until  the  year  1619,  when  the  colony  was  deemed  sufficiently 
grown  to  warrant  an  assembly.  In  that  year  Sir  George 
Yeardley  arrived  with  the  commission  of  governor-general 
from  the  London  company,  which  had  planted  and  governed 


FIRST   LEGISLATIVE   ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA — HENRY.      303 

the  colony.  Among  his  instructions  was  one,  also  called  a 
commission,  that  brought  joy  to  the  hearts  of  the  colonists. 
It  was,  as  they  described  it,  '^  that  they  might  have  a  hande 
in  the  governinge  of  themselves,  it  was  granted  that  a  general 
assemblie  should  be  helde  yearly  once,  whereat  were  to  be 
present  the  Gov'^  and  Counsell,  with  two  Burgesses  from  each 
plantation  freely  to  be  elected  by  the  inhabitants  thereof;  this 
Assembly  have  power  to  make  and  ordaine  whatsoever  laws 
and  orders  should  by  them  be  thought  good  and  profifittable 
for  our  subsistance." 

This  commission,  the  real  Magna  Charta  of  Virginia,  was 
issued  in  London  the  28th  of  November,  1618.  That  night  a 
flaming  comet  appeared  in  the  heavens,  which  was  considered 
then  an  ill  omen,  but  which  might  more  properly  have  been 
taken  as  a  heavenly  recognition  of  the  great  boon  which  had 
been  bestowed  on  America.  The  comet  was  visible  till  the  26th 
of  December,  and  the  prevailing  superstition  prevented  the 
sailing  of  Governor  Yeardley  till  it  was  safely  departed.  He, 
therefore,  sailed  with  his  commission  and  instructions  the  29th 
of  January,  1619,  more  than  a  year  before  the  sailing  of  the 
Pilgrims. 

In  accordance  with  this  commission,  in  June,  Governor  Yeard- 
ley sent  his  summons  all  over  the  country,  as  well  to  invite 
those  of  the  council  of  State  that  were  absent,  as  for  the  elec- 
tion of  two  burgesses  from  each  of  the  plantations,  to  meet  at 
Jamestown  on  the  30th  of  July,  1619  (O.  S.).  As  this  was  the 
first  legislative  assembly  which  met  in  America,  antedating 
by  fifteen  years  the  assembly  of  any  other  colony,  and  was  the 
beginning  of  the  free  institutions  which  we  now  enjoy,  I  have 
thought  it  would  be  of  interest  to  give  some  account  of  it  and 
of  its  proceedings. 

The  place  of  meeting  was  the  Episcopal  Church,  a  wooden 
building  60  feet  long  and  24  wide.  Its  communion  table  was 
of  black  walnut;  its  pulpit,  chancel,  and  pews  of  cedar.  It 
had  handsome  wide  windows,  also  made  of  cedar,  which  could 
be  shut  and  opened  according  to  the  weather.  A  green  velvet 
chair  was  placed  in  the  choir,  in  which  the  governor  sat.  The 
building  was  so  constructed  as  to  be  very  light  within,  and  we 
are  told  that  the  governor  caused  it  to  be  kept  "passing  sweet 
and  trimmed  up  with  divers  flowers."  The  native  Virginia 
flowers  in  season  were  doubtless  used.  There  might  be  seen 
festoons  of  the  trumpet  creeper,  with  its  splendid  scarlet  flower, 


304  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

mingled  with  the  sweet-smelling  white  honeysuckle  and  clem- 
atis, some  of  the  latter  with  beautiful  white  clusters,  and 
others  with  lovely  bell- shaped  leathery  flowers,  cream- colored 
and  touched  with  purple,  while  the  pulpit  and  communion 
table  were  decked  with  pink  sweetbrier  and  swamp  roses,  and 
red  swamp  lilies. 

On  the  memorable  morning  of  the  30th  of  July,  1619,  the 
governor  went  in  state  to  the  church.  He  was  accompanied 
by  the  councillors  and  officers  of  the  colony,  with  a  guard  of 
halberdiers  dressed  in  the  governor's  livery.  Behind  them 
walked,  with  becoming  dignity,  the  22  newly  elected  burgesses. 

In  the  contemporaneous  account  sent  to  England  by  the 
speaker,  we  are  told:  "The  most  convenient  place  we  could 
finde  to  sitt  in  was  the  Quire  of  the  Church,  where  Sir  George 
Yeardley,  the  Governour,  being  sett  down  in  his  accustomed 
place,  those  of  the  Counsel  of  Estate  sate  nexte  him  on  both 
handes,  excepte  only  the  Secretary,  then  appointed  Speaker, 
who  sate  right  before  him,  John  Twine,  Clerke  of  the  General 
Assembly,  being  placed  nexte  the  Speaker,  and  Thomas  Pierse, 
the  Sergeant,  standing  at  the  barre,  to  be  ready  for  any  service 
the  Assembly  shoulde  command  him.  But  forasmuche  as 
men's  affaires  doe  little  prosper  where  God's  service  is  neglected, 
all  the  Burgesses  tooke  their  places  in  the  Quire  till  a  prayer 
was  said  by  Mr.  Bucke,  the  minister,  that  it  would  please  God 
to  guide  and  sanctifle  all  our  proceedings  to  his  owne  glory, 
and  the  good  of  this  plantation.  Prayer  being  ended,  to  the 
intente  that  as  we  had  begun  at  God  Almighty,  so  we  might 
proceed  with  awful  and  due  respecte  towards  the  Lieutenant, 
our  most  gratious  and  dread  Soveraigne,  all  the  Burgesses 
were  in  treated  to  retyre  themselves  into  thebody  of  theChurche, 
which  being  done,  before  they  were  freely  admitted,  they  were 
called  to  order  and  by  name,  and  so  every  man  (none  stagger- 
ing at  it)  tooke  the  oathe  of  Supremacy,  and  then  entered  the 
Assembly." 

And  now  that  the  Assembly  has  been  duly  constituted  let  us 
look  upon  the  men  who  composed  it.  They  were  all  English- 
men of  a  high  type,  and,  following  ancient  custom,  they  sat  with 
their  hats  on.  Sir  George  Yeardley  was  the  first  cousin  of  the 
stepfather  of  John  Harvard,  founder  of  Harvard  College.  He 
had  been  educated  to  arms  in  Holland,  where  he  had  fought 
for  Protestantism  in  the  cruel  war  waged  for  its  extermination 
by  Spain.    He  had  been  a  subscriber  to  the  London  Company 


I 


FIRST   LEGISLATIVE   ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA HENRY.      305 

under  its  second  charter,  and  had  come  to  Virginia  with  Sir 
Thomas  Gates  in  1609,  escaping  the  dangers  of  the  famous 
wreck  on  the  Bermudas,  which,  it  is  said,  suggested  to  Shakes- 
peare "The  Tempest."  He  had  acted  as  governor  for  a  year 
after  the  departure  of  Sir  Thomas  Dale  in  1616,  and  then, 
having  married,  he  had  visited  England,  where  he  was  com- 
missioned as  governor  on  the  18th  of  November,  1618,  to  suc- 
ceed the  treacherous  Argall.  Upon  his  appointment  he  had 
been  knighted  by  the  King  at  Kew  Market,  and  was  proud  of 
his  newly  acquired  honor.  This  he  showed  in  his  bearing. 
He  was  a  man  of  wealth  and  of  well  deserved  influence.  The 
councilors  who  sat  on  his  right  and  his  left  were  men  of  mark. 
Let  us  note  them.  Capt.  Francis  West,  the  son  of  Sir  Thomas 
West,  the  second  Lord  De  la  Warr,  had  come  to  Virginia  with 
Newport  in  July,  1608,  and  had  been  made  a  member  of  the 
council  the  next  year.  He  had  also  subscribed  under  the 
second  charter.  He  had  been  put  in  command  of  the  fort  at 
the  Falls  of  James  river  (Richmond),  and  had  been  president 
of  the  council  in  1612.  He  had  settled  at  West  Hundred, 
since  known  as  Westover,  around  which  was  gathered  so  much 
of  historic  interest  before  and  during  the  Revolution  and  in 
the  late  war.  He  was  subsequently  to  become  the  governor  of 
Virginia.  He  was  a  direct  descendant  of  William  the  Con- 
queror, and  proved  himself  to.  be  a  man  of  nerve  in  his  resist- 
ance to  the  planting  of  Maryland  by  Lord  Baltimore  within 
the  limits  of  Virginia. 

Capt.  Nathaniel  Powell  had  come  with  the  first  colonists; 
had  been  with  Newport  when  he  explored  the  York  River,  and 
with  Smith  when  he  explored  the  Chesapeake  Bay.  He  was  a 
man  of  culture,  and  kept  an  account  of  occurrences  in  the 
colony,  which  was  freely  used  by  Capt.  Smith  in  his  history  of 
Virginia.  Both  he  and  his  wife  were  afterwards  among  the 
victims  of  the  Indian  massacre,  which  occurred  March  22, 1622. 

John  RoLfe  had  come  to  Virginia  with  Sir  Thomas  Gates, 
and  had  been  in  the  wreck  upon  the  Bermudas.  In  1612  he 
had  introduced  the  systematic  culture  of  tobacco  in  Virginia. 
In  1614  he  had  married  the  Princess  Pochahontas,  whom  he 
carried  to  England  in  1616.  On  their  way  homeward  the 
princess  had  died  at  Gravesend  in  March,  1617.  He  was  also 
a  man  of  cultivation,  and  had  written  one  or  more  tracts  upon 
Virginia. 

S.  Mis.  104 20 


9 
306  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

The  Eev.  William  Wickham  was  of  a  prominent  family, 
engaged  in  the  East  India  service,  a  member  of  which  is  said 
to  have  first  introduced  tea  into  England.  He  added  the 
dignity  of  the  clergy  to  the  assembly  in  which  he  sat. 

Oapt.  Samuel  Maycock  was  a  Cambridge  scholar,  a  gentle- 
man of  birth,  virtue,  and  industry,  who  was  also  doomed  to 
fall  in  the  Indian  massacre. 

John  Pory,  secretary  of  the  colony,  sat  as  the  speaker  of  the 
burgesses.  He  had  been  educated  at  Cambridge,  and  was  an 
accomplished  scholar.  He  was  a  disciple  of  the  celebrated 
Hackluyt,  who  left  the  highest  testimonial  to  his  learning. 
He  had  been  a  great  traveler,  and  had  published,  in  1600,  a 
geographical  history  of  Africa,  which  contained  a  good  account 
of  Abyssinia,  a  map  of  Africa,  and  a  tracing  of  the  Nile  from 
an  inland  lake.  Having  served  in  Parliament,  he  was  able  to 
give  order  to  their  proceedings  and  proper  form  to  their  acts. 

The  names  of 'John  Twine,  clerk,  and  Thomas  Pierse,  ser- 
geant, suggest  at  once  the  actors  in  a  famous  litigation,  one 
of  the  leading  cases  in  English  jurisprudence.  It  is  known  as 
Twine's  case,  and  is  reported  by  Lord  Coke.  Pierse  was 
indebted  to  Twine  £400,  and  conveyed  his  property,  valued  at 
£300,  to  secure  the  debt.  But  the  conveyance  was  declared 
to  be  void,  as  in  conflict  with  the  statute  of  13  Elizabeth 
against  fraudulent  conveyances.  If  not  the  parties  to  the 
litigation,  these  men  were  doubtless  their  kinsmen. 

Turning  now  to  the  burgesses,  we  find  Capt.  William  Powell 
and  Ensign  William  Spence  sitting  for  James  City.  Capt. 
Powell,  a  subscriber  under  the  second  charter,  came  to  Vir- 
ginia with  Gates  in  1611,  and  was  the  gunner  at  Jamestown. 
He  was  one  of  the  first  to  whom  the  plot  of  the  Indians  for 
murdering  the  colonists  was  revealed,  and  was  instrumental 
in  giving  warning  to  the  plantations  nearest  Jamestown.  He 
became  very  active  afterwards  in  taking  revenge  upon  the 
Indians  for  the  massacre,  and  it  is  believed  that  he  was  killed 
by  them  on  the  Chickahominy  in  January,  1623. 

The  representatives  for  Charles  City  were  Samuel  Sharp  and 
Samuel  Jordon,  names  that  have  been  honored  in  the  subse- 
quent history  of  Virginia.  Samuel  Sharp  had  been  in  the 
colony  since  1610,  and  received  more  than  once  the  suffrages 
of  his  neighbors  as  a  burgess.  Samuel  Jordon  came  to  Virginia 
at  an  early  date.  His  plantation  was  perhaps  the  first  in  Vir- 
ginia to  which  an  alliterative  name  was  given.     It  was  called 


FIRST   LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA — HENRY.      3C7 

^^  Jordon's  Journey,"  and  was  afterwards  tlie  home  of  the  cele- 
brated Eichard  Bland  of  the  Eevolution.  He  survived  the 
Indian  massacre,  and  gathered  some  of  the  stragglers  about 
him  at  a  place  called  "Beggars  Bush,"  where  we  are  told,  "he 
fortified  and  lived  in  despight  of  the  enemy."  Within  a  few 
weeks  after  his  death,  in  1623,  his  widow.  Cicely,  distinguished 
herself  greatly  by  introducing  into  the  colony  the  art  of  flirt- 
ing, an  art  which  has  been  practiced  somewhat  in  Virginia 
ever  since.  It  was  alleged  that  she  had  accepted  two  suitors, 
the  Kev.  Greville  Pooley,  and  Mr. William  Ferrar.  Each  claimed 
her  hand.  Their  hot  dispute  was  carried  before  the  council. 
That  body,  after  solemn  consideration,  declared  that  the  case 
was  too  knotty  for  them,  and  referred  it  to  the  council  in 
London.  We  are  not  informed  as  to  their  decision,  but  the 
widow  is  said  to  have  married  Ferrar. 

Thomas  Dowse  and  John  Polentine  represented  the  city  of 
Henricus,  located  at  what  is  now  known  as  Dutch  Gap.  The 
first  came  to  Virginia  as  early  as  1608,  and  was  one  of  the  few 
of  the  early  settlers  that  survived.  The  second  survived  the 
massacre,  and  visited  England  in  1626. 

For  Kiccowtan,  Capt.  William  Tucker  and  William  Capp 
sat.  The  first,  a  subscriber  under  the  third  charter,  after 
sending  over  two  men  with  Ealph  Hamor  in  January,  1617, 
came  soon  after  to  Virginia  himself.  He  was  a  merchant  and 
trader,  and  made  frequent  voyages  to  England.  He  was  the 
first  of  our  merchant  princes.  After  1619  he  served  for  many 
years  as  a  councillor.  He  was  one  of  the  most  active  and 
efficient  in  avenging  upon  the  Indians  their  cruel  massacre  of 
1622. 

William  Capp  was  an  ancient  planter,  and  one  of  the  first 
settlers.  We  find  him  surviving  all  the  dangers  of  the  colony, 
and  living  as  late  as  1630.  In  1626  the  King  granted  him  the 
privilege  of  erecting  salt  works,  the  first  erected  in  the  colony. 

Capt.  Thomas  Graves  and  Mr.  Walter  Shelley  sat  for 
Smythe's  Hundred.  The  first,  a  subscriber  under  the  second 
charter,  had  come  to  Virginia  in  1608.  We  find  him  soon 
after  this  assembly  living  on  the  eastern  shore,  and  represent- 
ing Accomac  as  a  burgess.  He  was  a  member  of  the  first 
regular  vestry  of  the  parish  of  that  county  in  1635. 

Walter  Shelley,  to  whom,  doubtless,  the  poet  was  related, 
was  one  of  the  original  subscribers  to  the  London  Company 
who  afterwards  came  to  the  colony.     On  the  third  day  of  the 


308  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

assembly,  we  find  the  following  brief  but  toucliing  entry  in 
the  Journal;  "Sunday,  August  the  first,  Mr.  Shelley,  one  of 
the  burgesses,  deceased." 

The  representatives  for  Martin's  Hundred  were  John  Boys 
and  John  Jackson.  The  first  was  a  victim  of  the  Indian  mas- 
sacre of  1622.  The  second,  whose  name  seems  sometimes  to 
have  been  spelled  Juxon,  was  a  kinsman  of  Bishop  William 
Juxon,  who  attended  Charles  the  First  on  the  scaffold,  and  to 
whom  the  King  is  said  to  have  addressed  his  last  mysterious 
word,  *^Eemember." 

Capt.  Thomas  Pawlett  and  Mr.  Gourgainy  represented 
Argall's  Guifte.  Capt.  Pawlett  was  a  brother  of  John  Paw- 
lett, who  was  elevated  to  the  peerage  in  1627,  as  Baron  Paw- 
lett of  Hinton,  St.  George.  In  1637  Capt.  Pawlett  owned 
Westover,  which  he  left  at  his  death  to  his  brother,  Lord 
Pawlett,  whose  son  sold  the  property  to  Theodoric  Bland  in 
April,  1665.  The  tract  then  contained  1,200  acres,  and  was 
sold  for  170  pounds. 

Flouer  dieu  Hundred  was  represented  by  Ensign  Eosiug- 
ham  (a  nephew  of  the  governor)  and  Mr.  Jefferson,  with  whom 
the  celebrated  Thomas  Jefferson  claimed  relationship.  Eosing- 
ham  afterwards  lived  in  London,  and  employed  his  time  in 
writing  for  newspapers. 

Capt.  Christopher  Lawne  and  Ensign  Washer  represented 
Capt.  Lawne's  Plantation,  afterward's  known  as  "Isle  of 
Wight  Plantation."  Capt.  Lawne  had  lately  come  to  Yirginia, 
and  he  lived  but  a  year  after  the  meeting  of  the  assembly. 

Capt.  Wardens  plantation  was  only  commenced  in  1618,  and 
was  represented  by  Capt.  Warde  himself  and  Lieut.  Gibbes. 
The  latter  was  doubtless  a  son  of  Thomas  Gibbes,  who  was  a 
member  of  His  Majesty's  council  for  the  Virginia  Company  in 
London. 

Thomas  Davis  and  Eobert  Stacy,  who  had  been  sent  from 
Capt.  John  Martin's  plantation,  had  been  excluded  from  the 
assembly.  Davis,  however,  took  his  seat  some  years  after- 
wards as  a  burgess  from  Warwick  County. 

The  Eev.  Eichard  Bucke,  the  officiating  minister,  was  edu- 
cated at  Oxford,  and  was  an  able  and  learned  divine.  He  came 
to  Yirginia  in  1609,  and  was  wrecked  on  the  Bermudas,  where 
he  christened  a  child  of  John  Eolfe's,  born  on  that  island.  He 
married  in  Virginia,  and  was  the  minister  at  Jamestown,  where, 
in  1614,  he  performed  the  marriage  ceremony  between  Eolfe  and 


FIEST   LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA — HENRY.      309 

the  Indian  princess  Pocahontas.  Eolfe  described  him  as  "a 
verie  good  preacher."  The  church  in  which  the  assembly  met 
had  been  built  for  him,  "wholly  at  the  charge  of  the  inhab- 
itants of  James  City."  He  was  on  intimate  terms  with  Rolfe, 
and  was  one  of  the  witnesses  to  his  will  in  March,  1621. 

After  a  session  of  five  days  the  body  adjourned,  "being  con- 
strained," as  they  expressed  it,  "by  the  intemperature  of  the 
weather  and  the  falling  sick  of  diverse  of  the  burgesses,  to 
break  up  so  abruptly— before  they  had  so  much  as  putt  their 
lawes  to  engrossing;  this  they  wholly  comited  to  the  fidelity  of 
their  speaker."  During  these  five  days  much  was  accom- 
plished. 

When  we  look  at  the  acts  of  this  body  we  are  struck  with 
their  just  conception  of  their  rights  as  an  assembly.  They 
asserted  the  right  to  judge  of  the  election  and  return  of  their 
members,  and,  in  its  exercise,  excluded  the  delegates  sent  from 
the  plantation  of  Oapt.  John  Martin,  because,  by  the  terms  of  his 
patent,  he  appeared  to  be  exempt  from  the  general  form  of  gov- 
ernment which  had  been  given  the  colony;  and,  in  addition, 
they  petitioned  the  London  Company  that  they  would  examine 
the  patent  of  Capt.  Martin,  and  "in  case  they  shall  finde  any- 
thing in  this,  or  in  any  other  parte  of  his  graunte  whereby  that 
clause  towardes  the  conclusion  of  the  great  charter  (viz,  that 
all  grauntes,  as  well  of  the  one  sorte  as  of  the  other,  respec- 
tively, be  made  with  equal  favour,  and  graunts  of  like  liberties 
and  imunities  as  neer  as  may  be,  to  the  ende  that  all  complain te 
of  partiality  and  indifferency  may  be  avoided)  might  in  any 
sorte  be  contradicted,  or  the  uniformity  and  equality  of  lawes 
and  orders  extending  over  the  whole  Colony  might  be  im- 
peached ;  that  they  would  be  pleased  to  remove  any  such  hin- 
drance as  may  diverte  out  of  the  true  course  the  free  and  public 
current  of  Justice."  Thus  early  did  Virginia  insist  upon  the 
equality  of  her  citizens  before  the  law,  a  principle  inserted  in 
her  declaration  of  rights  in  1776,  when  she  became  a  State, 
in  the  provisions,  "that  no  man,  or  set  of  men,  are  entitled  to 
exclusive  or  separate  emoluments  or  privileges  from  the  com- 
munity, but  in  consideration  of  public  services;"  and,  "  that 
the  people  have  a  right  to  uniform  government,  and  therefore 
that  no  government  separate  from  or  independent  of  the  gov- 
ernment of  Virginia  ought  to  be  erected  or  established  within 
the  limits  thereof. " 

Having  thus  purged  their  roll,  the  assembly  proceeded, 


310  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

according  to  their  speaker's  report,  as  follows:  ^^The  Speaker, 
who  a  long  time  had  been  extreame  sickly,  and  therefore  not 
able  to  passe  through  long  harangues,  delivered  in  briefe  to 
the  whole  assembly  the  occassions  of  their  meetings.  Which 
done,  he  read  unto  them  the  commission  for  establishing  the 
counsell  of  estate,  and  the  general  assembly,  wherein  their 
duties  were  described  to  the  life.  Having  thus  prepared  them, 
he  read  over  unto  them  the  greate  Charter,  or  commission  of 
priviledges,  orders,  and  lawes,  sent  by  Sir  George  Yeardley 
out  of  Englandej  which,  for  the  more  ease  of  the  committees, 
having  divided  into  fower  books,  he  read  the  former  two  the 
same  forenoon,  for  expeditions  sake,  a  second  time  over,  and 
so  they  were  referred  to  the  perusall  of  two  committees,  which 
did  reciprocally  consider  of  either,  and  accordingly  brought  in 
their  opinions  *  *  *  in  case  we  should  finde  ought  not 
perfectly  squaring  with  the  state  of  this  Colony,  or  any  lawe 
which  did  presse  or  binde  too  harde,  that  we  might,  by  waye 
of  humble  petition,  seeketohave  it  redressed,  especially  because 
this  great  Charter  is  to  binde  us  and  our  heyers  forever." 

Nothing  can  throw  a  clearer  light  on  the  state  of  the  colony 
than  the  acts  of  this  assembly ;  and  in  them  we  can  discern 
the  germs  of  the  free  institutions  of  the  United  States  of  to-day, 
germs  which  reappeared  in  the  colonies  subsequently  planted. 

The  committees,  when  they  reported  on  the  first  two  books, 
submitted  six  petitions  to  be  sent  to  the  Virginia  Company  of 
London.  They  were  wisely  framed  in  view  of  the  needs  of  the 
colony,  and  were  agreed  to  by  the  assembly. 

The  first  was  that  the  lands  theretofore  granted  by  patent 
to  the  planters  be  not  taken  from  them  in  the  allotments  of 
lands  to  the  governor  and  his  council,  the  officers  of  incorpora- 
tions, and  the  members  of  the  London  Company.  The  second, 
that  the  London  Company  send,  with  convenient  speed,  men 
to  occupy  their  lands  belonging  to  the  four  corporations,  and 
also  tenants  for  the  glebe  land  of  the  ministers  of  these  corpo- 
rations. The  third,  that  the  planters  who  came  before  Sir 
Thomas  Dale's  departure  in  1616  be  put  upon  the  same  footing 
with  those  to  whom  land  was  granted  afterwards,  and  that  a 
single  share  apiece  be  granted  to  the  male  children  born  in 
Virginia,  and  to  their  wives,  "  because,"  they  say,  "  that  in  a 
a  newe  plantation  io  is  not  known  whether  man  or  woman  be 
the  more  necessary."  The  importance  of  this  petition  will 
appear,  when  we  remember  that  on  the  return  of  Dale  in  July, 


FIRST   LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA — HENRY.      311 

1616,  the  London  Company  determined  to  give  the  planters  a 
fixed  property  in  the  soil,  and  to  confirm  every  man^s  portion 
"  as  a  state  of  inheritance  to  him  and  his  heyers  forever,  with 
bounds  and  limits  under  the  Companies  seale,  to  be  holden  of 
his  Majestie  as  of  his  Manour  of  East  Greenwich,  in  socage 
tenure,  and  not  in  capite."  The  fourth  petition  was  that  a  sub- 
treasurer  be  appointed  here  to  collect  the  rents  of  the  London 
Company,  instead  of  requiring  the  impossibility  of  paying  them 
in  England,  "and  that  they  would  eujoine  the  said  subtreas- 
urer  not  precisely  according  to  the  letter  of  the  charter  to 
exacte  money  of  us  (whereof  we  have  none  at  all,  as  we  have 
no  minte),  but  the  true  value  of  the  rente  in  comodity."  The 
fifth,  that  "  towards  the  erecting  of  the  university  and  col- 
ledge,  they  will  sende,  when  they  shall  thinke  it  most  con- 
venient, workmen  of  all  sortes,  fitt  for  that  purpose."  The 
sixth,  that  the  savage  name  of  Kiccowtan  be  changed,  and  a 
new  name  be  given  to  that  incorporation.  When  this  was 
done  the  place  was  named  Hampton. 

The  purpose  of  establishing  a  university  and  college,  thus 
early  manifested  by  the  Virginians,  was  to  be  advanced  by 
working  a  large  tract  of  land  granted  for  that  purpose  at 
Henrico,  or  Henricus,  some  12  miles  below  Eichmond.  The 
plantation  unfortunately  was  broken  up  by  the  Indian  massa- 
cre in  1622,  and  the  establishment  of  the  college  was  thus  post- 
poned till  the  reign  of  William  and  Mary,  and  then  it  was 
located  at  Williamsburg,  and  named  after  the  two  sovereigns. 

The  Speaker's  report  continued  as  follows:  "These  peti- 
tions thus  concluded  on,  those  two  committees  brought  a 
reporte  what  they  had  obs  erved  in  the  two  latter  bookes,  which 
was  nothing  else  but  that  the  perfection  of  them  was  such  as 
that  they  could  find  nothing  in  them  subject  to  exception, 
*  *  *  at  the  same  time  there  remaining  no  farther  scruple 
in  the  mindes  of  the  Assembly  touching  the  said  great  Charter 
of  Lawes,  orders  and  privileges,  the  Speaker  putt  the  same  to 
the  question,  and  so  it  hath  both  a  general  assent  and  the 
ajjplause  of  the  whole  Assembly.  *  *  *  This  being 
dispatched,  we  fell  once  more  debating  of  such  instructions 
given  by  the  Counsell  in  England  to  several  Governors  as 
might  be  converted  into  lawes." 

Of  these  which  were  enacted  into  laws,  the  first  fixed  the 
value  of  tobacco  to  be  taken  either  for  commodities,  or  for 
bills,  at  3  shillings  a  pound  for  the  best,  and  18  pence  a  pound 


312  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

for  the  second  quality.  Then  followed  laws  against  idleness, 
gaming,  drunkenness,  and  excess  in  apparel.  The  provision 
concerning  apparel  is  interesting.  It  was  "That  every  man 
be  cessed  (assessed)  in  the  Churche  for  all  publique  contribu- 
tions; if  he  be  unmarried  according  to  his  owne  apparell;  if 
he  be  married,  according  to  his  owne  and  his  wives,  or  either 
of  their  apparell."  It  may  be  safely  surmised  that  had  female 
suffrage  existed  in  the  colony,  this  church  tax  would  have 
been  placed  entirely  on  the  unmarried  men. 

Others  of  this  class  of  laws  related  to  intercourse  with  the 
Indians,  and  to  educating  and  Christianizing  them,  to  the 
planting  of  corn,  mulberry  trees,  silk  flax,  hemp,  and  grape 
vines,  to  the  regulation  of  contracts  with  trades  people,  ten- 
ants, and  servants,  and  to  the  management  of  the  magazine 
or  storehouse  of  the  colony. 

On  the  3d  of  August  the  assembly  entered  upon  the  consid- 
eration of  the  third  sort  of  laws.  "  Suche  as  might  proceed 
out  of  every  man's  private  conceipt. "  They  were  referred  to 
the  two  committees,  and  were  reported  and  adopted  the  next 
day.  These  allowed  freemen  to  trade  with  the  Indians,  but 
contained  stringent  enactments  against  selling  or  giving  them 
hoes,  dogs,  shot,  powder,  or  firearms.  As  to  these  three  last 
named  the  penalty  was  death.  Fines  were  imposed  on  per- 
sons going  20  miles  from  home,  or  absenting  themselves  seven 
days,  or  visiting  the  Indians,  without  leave  of  the  governor  or 
of  the  commander  of  the  place  of  their  habitation.  Provision 
was  made  for  taking  a  census  of  the  inhabitants,  and  for  rec- 
ord and  report  by  the  ministers  of  all  christenings,  burials,  and 
marriages.  The  killing  of  neat  cattle  and  oxen  without  leave 
of  the  governor  was  forbidden.  The  taking  of  the  boats,  oars, 
and  canoes  of  neighbors,  and  thefts  from  the  Indians,  were 
made  punishable.  Ministers  were  required  to  conduct  worship 
according  to  the  laws  and  orders  of  the  Church  of  England, 
and  to  catechise  every  Sunday  afternoon  those  "  not  yet  ripe 
to  come  to  the  communion."  The  ministers  and  church  war- 
dens were  required  to  present  all  ungodly  disorders,  and  a  fine 
of  5  shillings  for  the  use  of  the  church  was  imposed  upon  those 
who  were  guilty  of  swearing,  after  thrice  admonition.  All 
persons  were  required  to  attend  divine  service  on  the  Sabbath 
day;  the  men  to  come  with  their  firearms.  Persons  trading 
in  the  bay  were  required  to  give  security  that  they  would  not 


FIRST   LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA — HENRY.      313 

wrong  the  Indians ;  and  the  marriages  and  contracts  of  serv- 
ants were  regulated. 

The  assembly  sat  as  a  court  in  two  matters  brought  before 
it.  The  first  was  on  the  complaint  of  Capt.  William  Powell 
against  one  Thomas  Garnett,  his  indented  servant.  The 
behavior  of  the  servant  had  been  so  wicked  and  obscene  that 
he  was  condemned  to  have  his  ears  nailed  to  the  pillory  for  four 
days  and  to  be  publicly  whipped  each  day.  This  seemingly 
harsh  punishment  should  be  viewed  in  the  light  of  the  age, 
which  had  little  of  the  humanitarian  feeling  of  the  present 
day;  and,  beside,  the  colony  was  limited  in  the  punishments  it 
could  employ. 

The  other  case  was  that  of  Capt.  Henry  Spelman.  Eobert 
Poole,  the  interpreter  of  the  Indian  language,  charged  him 
with  speaking  irreverently  and  maliciously  of  the  governor  to 
Opechancano,  the  great  Indian  chief.  Part  of  the  words 
charged  to  have  been  spoken  Spelman  confessed,  but  the 
greater  part  he  denied.  The  assembly  was  unwilling  to  inflict 
the  severest  punishment  on  him  upon  the  testimony  of  one 
witness.  It  was  determined,  however,  in  view  of  what  he  con- 
fessed, to  degrade  him  from  his  title  and  position  as  a  captain 
and  to  require  him  to  serve  the  colony  for  seven  years  as  an 
interpreter  to  the  governor. 

This  Henry  Spelman  had  a  notable  career.  He  was  the 
third  son  of  the  distinguished  antiquarian.  Sir  Henry  Spel- 
man, of  Oonghan,  Norfolk,  England.  He  was  a  wild  boy.  He 
came  to  Virginia  in  1609,  when  about  21  years  of  age,  ^'beiuge 
in  displeasuer  of  my  friendes  and  desirous  to  see  other  coun- 
tryes,"  as  he  tells  us.  He  relates  that  soon  after  his  arrival 
Capt.  John  Smith,  then  president  of  the  colony,  carried  him 
to  the  falls  of  James  Eiver  and  sold  him  to  the  Indian  chief- 
tain, Little  Powhatan,  for  a  town  called  Powhatan.  It  is 
stated,  however,  in  Smith's  General  History,  that  when  Capt. 
Sickelmore,  with  -some  thirty  others,  were  slain  by  Powhatan  in 
1609,  Pocahontas  saved  the  life  of  Henry  Spelman  and  he  lived 
many  years  afterwards  with  the  Indians.  He  afterward  visited 
England,  and  on  his  return  to  Virginia  was  made  a  captain.  He 
was  sent  with  26  men, in  1623,  to  trade  in  the  river  Potomac,  and 
was  surprised  and  slain,  with  five  of  his  men,  by  the  Indians. 
He  left  an  account  of  his  observations  while  living  with  the 
Indians,  which  was  discovered  at  the  sale  of  a  library  by 
James  F.  Hunniwell,  esq.,  who  published  it  in  1872. 


314  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Before  adjourning  the  assembly  provided  for  its  officers. 
Every  male  above  16  was  required  to  contribute  one  pound  of 
best  tobacco  for  compensation  to  the  speaker,  clerk,  sergeant, 
and  provost-marshal  of  James  City. 

The  session  concluded  with  four  petitions  to  the  London 
company.  The  first  two  were  that  the  body  be  excused  for 
incompleteness  in  their  work  and  record,  because  of  the  heat 
and  their  sickness.    The  last  two  were  in  these  words : 

"Thirdly,  the  General  Assembly  doth  humbly  beseeche  the 
said  Treasurer,  counsell,  and  Company,  that  albeit  it  belongeth 
to  them  onely  to  allowe  or  to  abrogate  any  lawes  which  we 
shall  here  make,  and  that  it  is  their  right  so  to  doe,  yet  that  it 
would  please  them  not  to  take  it  in  ill  parte  if  these  lawes 
which  we  have  nowe  brought  to  light,  do  passe  currant  and  be 
of  force  till  suche  time  as  we  may  knowe  their  farther  pleasure 
out  of  Englande,  for  otherwise,  this  people  (who  now  at  length 
have  gotten  the  raines  of  former  servitude  into  their  owne 
swinge)  would  in  shorte  time  grow  so  insolent,  as  they  would 
shake  off  all  government,  and  there  would  be  no  living  among 
them.  Their  last  humble  suite  is,  that  the  said  Counsell  and 
Company  would  be  pleased,  so  soon  as  they  shall  finde  it  con- 
venient, to  make  good  their  promise  sett  down  at  the  conclu- 
sion of  their  commission,  for  establishing  the  counsel  of  estate 
and  the  General  Assembly,  namely,  that  they  will  give  us 
power  to  allowe  or  disallowe  of  their  orders  of  courte,  as  his 
Majesty  hath  given  them  power  to  allowe  or  to  reject  our 
lawes." 

The  question  of  the  validity  of  the  acts  of  the  assembly,  till 
they  were  disallowed  by  the  authorities  in  England  was  one 
which  was  unsettled  in  the  year  1758,  when  the  act  passed 
which  permitted  debts  contracted  to  be  paid  in  tobacco  to  be 
solved  in  currency  at  a  fixed  rate,  the  resistance  to  which,  by 
the  clergy  gave  rise  to  the  famous  "Parson's  cause."  The 
power  to  disallow  the  orders  of  the  London  Company  was  a 
great  stride  in  the  direction  of  independent  local  government, 
and  the  promise  of  it  by  the  London  Company  shows  to  what 
extent  the  spirit  of  liberty  was  nourished  in  that  celebrated 
body  during  the  arbitrary  reign  of  James  the  First,  a  fact 
that  excited  his  hatred  of  the  corporation  and  caused  him  to 
take  from  it  its  charter. 

Hutchinson,  the  Tory  historian,  wrote:  "  In  1619  a  house  of 
burgesses  broke  out  at  Jamestown."    He  evidently  regarded 


FIRST   LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY  IN  AMERICA — HENRY.      315 

it  as  if  it  had  been  the  plague,  and  a  plague  it  was  to  all  those 
who  endeavored  to  tyrannize  the  colony.  As  early  as  1623  the 
assembly  enacted  That  "  the  governor  shall  not  lay  any  taxes 
or  ympositions  upon  the  Colony,  their  lands,  or  comodities, 
other  way  than  by  the  authority  of  the  General  Assembly,  to  be 
levyed  and  ymployed  as  the  said  Assembly  shall  appoynt."  In 
1631  they  enacted  that  "  the  Governor  and  Council  shall  not 
lay  any  taxes  and  ympositions,  etc.,"  including  in  the  prohibi- 
tion the  council  with  the  governor.  In  1632  this  latter  act  was 
reenacted  verbatim.  The  same  thing  occurred  in  1642.  In 
1645  they  enacted  that  "  no  lea  vies  be  raised  within  the  Colony 
but  by  a  general  Grand  Assembly .''  In  1651,  when  they  agreed 
with  the  commissioners  sent  out  by  Cromwell,  one  article  was, 
**that  Virginia  shall  be  free  from  all  taxes,  customes,  and 
impositions  whatsoever,  and  none  to  be  imposed  on  them 
without  consent  of  the  Grand  Assembly."  In  1666,  upon  the 
request  of  Governor  Berkley,  "  that  two  or  more  of  the  Council 
might  join  with  the  house  in  granting  and  confirming  the  levy," 
the  house  answered,  "  that  they  conceive  it  their  privilege  to 
lay  the  levy  in  the  House,  and  that  the  House  will  admit  nothing 
without  reference  from  the  honorable  Governour,  unless  it  be 
before  adjudged  and  confirmed  by  act  or  order,  and  after 
passing  in  the  house  shall  be  humbly  presented  to  their  honours 
for  approbation  or  dissent."  These  were  not  vain  repetitions, 
but  were  earnest  reiterations  of  the  sole  right  of  the  people  to 
tax  themselves  through  their  representatives,  made  during 
contests  with  the  executive  power,  and  they  indicate  a  stub- 
born determination  to  defend  the  great  bulwark  of  English 
liberty.  So  exasperated  had  the  burgesses  become  in  these 
contests  that  we  find  them  at  length  challenging  the  right  of 
the  governor  to  veto  their  acts.  In  1686  James  the  Second  wrote 
a  sharp  letter  ordering  the  assembly  to  be  dissolved,  because  the 
house  of  burgesses  "have  presumed  so  far  as  to  raise  contests 
touching  the  power  of  the  negative  voice,  wherewith  our  Gov- 
ernor is  intrusted  by  us."  As  a  result  of  their  struggles,  the 
assembly  exclusively  enjoyed  this  great  right  of  taxation  until 
1765,  when  Parliament  undertook  to  tax  Yirginia  without  the 
consent  of  her  assembly.  We  can  well  understand  the  alarm 
which  this  attempt  produced,  and  can  appreciate  the  inherited 
fortitude  of  the  burgesses  of  that  year  in  adopting  their  famous 
resolutions  against  the  stamp  act,  in  which  they  boldly  took 
issue  with  Parliament  and  declared  "  that  the  General  Assem- 


316 


AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 


bly  of  this  Colony  have  the  sole  right  and  power  to  lay  taxes, 
and  impositions  upon  the  inhabitants  of  this  Colony ;  and  that 
every  attempt  to  vest  such  power  in  any  person  or  persons 
whatsoever,  other  than  the  General  Assembly  aforesaid,  has  a 
manifest  tendency  to  destroy  British,  as  well  as  American 
freedom." 

The  publication  of  these  resolves,  as  is  well  known,  fired  the 
colonies,  they  all  having  continuously  claimed  the  same  right 
for  their  assemblies,  and  "  set  in  motion  the  ball  of  the  Revo- 
lution," the  glorious  results  of  which  we  this  day  enjoy  j  and 
not  we  alone,  for  it  was  truly  declared  by  one  of  England's 
gi'eatest  statesmen  that  the  American  Bevolution  saved  the 
liberties  of  mankind. 


XXIL— NATURALIZATION  IN  THE  ENGLISH  COLONIES  OF 
AMERICA. 


By   MISS   CORA   START, 

OF  WORCESTER,  MASS. 


317 


NATURALIZATION  IN  THE  ENGLISH  COLONIES  IN  AMERICA. 


By  Cora  Start. 


Almost  none  of  the  phases  of  naturalization  and  immigra- 
tion, which  are  the  problems  of  the  day,  existed  as  such  before 
the  Eevolution.  The  excellent  character  of  the  foreigners  who 
first  came  to  America  and  the  conditions  of  colonial  life  which 
made  a  welcome  to  them  imperative,  rendered  any  policy  which 
would  exclude  them  or  reduce  their  numbers,  inexpedient. 
The  chief  object  of  the  alien  in  seeking  naturalization,  too, 
was  quite  different  from  that  of  the  alien  of  to-day,  which  seems 
to  be  the  acquisition  of  the  ability  to  vote.  The  growing 
tendency  to  regard  this  rather  as  a  civil  right  than  a  political 
privilege  is  the  cause  of  the  generally  current  but  incorrect 
view  that  the  suffrage  is  coextensive  with  citizenship.  Citi- 
zenship signified  before  the  Eevolution,  as  it  does  now>  the 
incorporation  of  the  individual  with  the  body  politic,  nothing 
more.    It  carried  with  it  civil  rights,  but  no  political  privileges. 

The  present  importance  of  the  suffrage  did  not  exist  in  the 
colonies.  Manhood  suffrage  depended,  not  on  citizenship  alone, 
as  to-day,  but  on  the  property  qualification  of  the  individual. 
Back  of  this  was  the  English  law  that  an  alien  could  neither 
hold  nor  bequeath  any  real  property  whatsoever  in  the  realm, 
and  that  if  he  acquired  such  it  escheated  to  the  Crown  on  his 
decease.  Besides  this,  when  one  remembers  that  he  came  to  a 
new  country,  where  the  suffrage  had  but  small  local  and  no 
national  significance,  that  coming  to  stay,  his  first  thought  was 
the  taking  up  of  land,  and  his  own  and  his  children's  legal  title 
to  the  same,  it  is  sufficiently  apparent  that  the  suffrage  was  of 
but  secondary  consideration  with  him.  The  universal  lack  of 
mention  of  the  elective  franchise  among  the  privileges  granted 
to  the  naturalized  subject  in  the  colonies  is  the  most  striking 

"       319 


l\ 


N^ 


320  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

thing  noted  in  the  examination  of  early  naturalization  docu- 
ments. All  of  these,  however,  bear  the  marks  of  this  close 
connection  with  the  possession  and  inheritance  of  property. 
All  the  questions  involved  in  naturalization  were  those  of  buy- 
ing, possessing,  trading,  bequeathing,  and  inheriting,  never  of 
enfranchising. 

The  colonies  were  always  subject  to  a  twofold  jurisdiction, 
to  that  of  the  home  authorities  and  their  representatives  in 
the  colonies,  and  to  that  of  the  colonial  legislatures.  The 
apportionment  of  power  between  the  two  was  often  but  imper- 
fectly defined,  and  this  is  particularly  true  of  naturahzation. 
As  a  result  there  were  two  species  in  the  colonies — naturali- 
zation as  prescribed  by  English  law  and  naturalization  by  the 
colonists,  by  methods  of  their  own  adoption. 

Besides  the  initiative  in  legislation,  England  had  control  of 
the  naturalization  in  the  colonies  through  the  strong  influence 
exercised  by  the  Government  officials  on  the  colonial  govern- 
ors, and  in  the  royal  veto — the  disallowance  of  the  naturaliza- 
tion bills  of  the  colonial  legislatures. 

That  any  naturalization  other  than  the  usual  one  in  England 
would  become  necessary  was  not  foreseen.  In  the  charters,  in 
nearly  every  instance,  permission  is  given  to  transport  sub- 
jects and  such  strangers  as  will  become  subjects.  This  was 
manifestly  intended  to  mean  naturalization  before  transpor- 
tation, and  the  first  foreigners  coming  to  America  were  thus 
naturalized.  With  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
when  the  European  exodus  began,  it  was  impossible  that  all 
should  go  to  England  for  this  purpose,  and  probably  the  bulk 
of  emigration  was  directly  to  America.  This  would  have 
resulted  in  a  rapidly  increasing  resident  alien  population,  for 
Parliament  passed  no  law  providing  for  naturalization  after 
arrival  until  a  century  later,  and  the  colonists,  therefore,  were 
forced  into  taking  measures  for  naturalization  themselves. 

Two  methods  were  open  to  the  foreigner  who  sought  natu- 
ralization in  England  before  setting  out  for  the  colonies — by 
letters  patent  of  denization,  issued  by  the  King,  and  by  spe- 
cial act  of  Parliament.  These  two  are  found  side  by  side  in 
England,  growing  in  inverse  ratio  with  the  increase  of  the 
power  of  Parliament  and  the  decadence  of  the  power  of  the 
Crown. 


NATURALIZATION  IN  THE  ENGLISH  COLONIES — START.     321 
NATURALIZATION  BEFORE  TRANSPORTATION — DENIZATION. 

Denization  is  the  earlier  process  and  represents  royal  per- 
mission to  inhabit  royal  territory  and  to  enjoy  some  of  the 
privileges  of  natural  born  subjects.  It  is  the  freedom  of  Eng- 
land extended  ex  donatione  regis. 

The  resident  alien  in  England  could  lay  claim  to  little  but 
protection  of  life  and  the  possession  of  personal  property,  and  his 
burdens,  mercantile  and  otherwise,  were  very  heavy.  Deniza- 
tion removed  the  most  salient  only  of  these  disabilities.  The 
person  denizated  could  buy,  sell,  possess  real  property  and 
bequeath  such  to  any  issue  he  might  have  after  his  denization. 
Children  born  before,  being  children  of  an  alien,  had  no  inher- 
itable blood  transmitted  to  them,  and  two  sons  of  an  alien 
father,  even  if  natural  born  English  subjects  by  being  born  on 
English  soil,  could  not  inherit  from  him  or  each  other.  The 
denizen  had  to  pay  an  alien's  duties.  He  could  not  be  of  the 
Privy  Council,  occupy  a  seat  in  Parliament,  hold  any  of&ce  of 
trust,  civil  or  military,  or  receive  any  grants  from  the  Crown. 
Even  his  tenure  was  uncertain,  as  his  letters  patent  might  be 
revoked.  It  seems  to  have  been  a  very  incomplete  naturaliza- 
tion, but  it  was  evidently  regarded  as  an  adequate  one  and 
was  particularly  popular  with  foreigners  who  were  in  England 
simply  for  their  naturalization,  as  it  took  less  time  than  a 
special  act  of  Parliament. 

NATURALIZATION    BEFORE    TRANSPORTATION—NATURALIZA- 
TION BY  SPECIAL  ACT. 

Special  legislation  by  Parliament  is  a  later  development,  as 
it  implies  a  national  consent  to  admission  to  membership  in 
the  body  politic.  This  was  naturalization  in  the  general  accept- 
ance of  the  term,  and  the  only  disability  which  the  alien  thus 
naturalized  was  subject  to  was  that  in  regard  to  officeholding 
and  receiving  grants  from  the  Crown,  a  disability  which  he 
shared  with  the  denizen  subject  and  with  Catholics,  but  one 
which  did  not  operate  to  its  full  extent  in  the  colonies,  as  natur- 
alized subjects  are  found  in  colonial  offices. 

Almost  the  first  concern  of  the  foreigner  on  his  arrival  in 
America  was  the  registration  of  his  name  as  a  naturalized 
subject  at  the  clerk's  office,  and  his  concern  seems  to  have  been 
in  proportion  to  the  amount  of  his  property. 

It  is  impossible  now  to  determine  the  number  thus  natural- 
ized before  transportation,  but  it  is  probable  that  was  it  less 
S.  Mis.  104 21 


322  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

used  as  naturalization  in  tlie  colonies  became  a  settled  prac- 
tice. 

NATURALIZATION  APTER  TRANSPORTATION. 

It  is  difficult  to  understand  why  Parliament  did  not  provide 
a  means  for  the  naturalization  of  the  alien  after  his  arrival  in 
the  Kew  World.  Penn,  in  his  ^^  Suggestions  Eespecting  the 
Plantations,"  in  1701,  mentions  the  need  of  a  general  law  of 
this  nature,  but  no  such  bill  was  passed  until  1740.  This  bill 
was  made  to  include  the  Moravians  in  1747,  and  in  1763  a  bill 
was  passed  for  the  naturalization  of  Protestant  foreigners  who 
had  served  as  soldiers  in  the  royal  army  in  America  and  who 
had  bought  land  and  settled.  These  three  constitute  the  en- 
tire legislation  on  the  subject. 

This  law  of  1740  was  an  admirable  one  in  many  ways.  Un- 
der it  naturalization  was  more  easily  accomplished,  and  at 
smaller  expense  than  by  any  of  the  colonial  methods.  It  made 
the  alien  an  English  subject,  anywhere  in  the  realm,  as  natu- 
ralization by  the  colonists  did  not,  and  the  reason  why  it  was 
not  used  in  preference,  or  even  to  the  exclusion  of  the  colonial 
methods  is  not  apparent.  It  did  not,  however,  supersede  them, 
and  in  some  of  the  colonies  it  was  practically  inoperative.  It 
is  possible  that  a  reason  may  be  found  in  the  term  of  residence 
required,  seven  years.  A  fixed  term  never  found  favor  with 
the  colonists  as  but  two  instances  are  found,  one,  of  one  year, 
in  an  unexecuted  law  of  Massachusetts  Bay,  in  1731,  and 
another  of  four,  in  a  Virginia  bill  of  1658.  Occasionally  for- 
eigners are  found  applying  to  the  colonial  legislatures  for  a 
naturalization,  on  the  ground  that  they  have  not  been  in  the 
colony  long  enough  to  take  advantage  of  the  law  of  1740,  and 
fearing  their  decease  during  the  time  required  by  it,  pray  a 
naturalization  that  their  children  may  inherit  such  property  as 
they  may  have  acquired. 

By  this  law  any  alien  not  a  Catholic  could  be  naturalized  by 
taking  the  oaths  at  the  nearest  court  of  record,  his  term  of  resi- 
dence being  completed.  The  fee  was  small,  but  2  shillings, 
and  could  not  be  increased.  It  was  practically  the  only  legis- 
lation in  naturalization.  This  lack  of  timely  and  necessary 
legislation  has  its  counterpart  in  the  official  instructions  to 
governors  and  in  the  infrequent  disallowance  of  naturalization 
bills  previous  to  the  reign  of  George  III.  During  this  period 
of  neglect,  the  most  significant  instruction  was  that  in  1699 
forbidding  denization  by  the  colonial  governors.    With  the 


NATURALIZATION  IN  THE  ENGLISH  COLONIES — START.     323 

beginning  of  the  struggle  for  the  supremacy  of  Parliament, 
however,  they  increase  in  number.  The  most  important  are 
those  regarding  grants  of  lands  to  the  alien  coming  from  a 
country  where  the  possession  of  land  was  a  patent  of  nobility 
and  where  he  could  never  hope  to  hold  any,  the  ease  with  which 
he  might  become,  here,  a  large  landed  proprietor  was  one  of 
the  chief  attractions  of  the  New  World.  Prohibition  of  land 
granting  was  a  serious  blow  to  immigration  and  of  course 
decreased  naturalization. 

Such  prohibitions  are  found  in  nearly  all  the  colonies  after 
1760,  and  an  order  in  council  in  1773  forbids  all  governors 
making  any  further  grants.  In  the  same  year  they  are  for- 
bidden to  give  their  assent  to  any  naturalization  bill.  This 
put  an  end  to  naturalization  in  all  the  colonies  except  Ehode 
Island  and  Connecticut,  where,  by  virture  of  the  liberality  of 
their  charters,  they  could  legislate  as  it  pleased  them. 

The  royal  veto  might  have  been  of  great  benefit  in  disallow- 
ing irregular  naturalization  legislation,  thus  forming  a  settled 
practice,  had  it  been  used  wisely  in  the  earlier  days.  But  colo- 
nial bills  of  doubtful  legality  were  allowed  to  become  laws,  and 
it  was  not  until  the  fifteen  years  before  the  Eevolution  that  it 
was  used  to  any  extent,  and  then  not  in  the  interest  of  good 
legislation  but  as  a  disciplinary  measure. 

NATURALIZATION  IN  THE   COLONIES. 

The  action  of  England  then,  was  for  the  most  part  negative. 
The  colonists  were  forced  to  naturalize  tbe  large  numbers  of 
foreigners  pouring  into  the  country,  and  they  seem  to  have 
done  so  without  much  investigation  of  their  authority  in  the 
matter.  All  authority  came  through  the  charters  from  the 
King,  who  could  transfer  no  power  which  he  had  not  himself. 
In  naturalization  proper,  as  a  function  of  Parliament,  he  had  no 
jurisdiction,  and  the  power  to  issue  letters  patent  of  denization 
was,  as  Blackstone  called  it,  "a  high  and  incommunicable 
branch  of  the  royal  prerogative.'^  It  was  incommunicable  from 
its  nature  of  a  favor  extended  by  the  Sovereign  himself.  A  far 
more  potent  reason  rfor  their  not  exercising  such  a  power  lay  in 
the  fact  that  naturalization  was  a  matter  affecting  the  whole 
nation,  and  that  no  inferior  part  could  legislate  for  the  whole 
realm,  as  would  have  been  the  case  could  the  colonial  legis- 
latures have  made  aliens  subjects  of  the  King. 

Not  going  back  of  the  charters,  however,  three  clauses  are 
of  und  which  might  convey  a  vestige  of  authority.  These 
give  permission  to  transport  subjects  and  such  strangers  as 


324  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

will  become  liege  subjects;  to  admit  freemen  to  tlie  compa- 
nies, and  to  make  laws  not  repugnant  to  those  of  England.. 
The  first  has  been  seen  to  mean  naturalization  before  trans- 
portation. The  second,  the  admission  of  freemen,  could  not 
justly  inure  as  naturalization,  although  it  conveyed  all  the  privi- 
leges of  residence,  since  it  did  not  make  the  alien  an  English 
subject.  Naturalization  was  not  generally  demanded  as  a  pre- 
requisite to  admission,  there  being  but  two  cases  on  record. 
The  third,  the  power  to  legislate,  is  almost  as  elastic  as  the 
general  welfare  clause  of  the  Constitution.  It  was  doubtless 
the  ground  on  which  they  naturalized,  but  in  a  last  reduction 
is  not  adequate,  considering  the  national  import  of  naturali- 
zation, and  also  that  in  many  cases  the  naturalization  legisla- 
tion was  distinctly  repugnant  to  that  of  England.  In  the  Vir- 
ginia charter  of  1611  alone,  a  distinct  power  to  naturalize  is 
given.  In  the  proprietary  governments  of  East  Jersey  and  the 
Carolinas,  the  Lords  Proprietors  authorize  their  assemblies  in 
the  Articles  of  Agreement  to  grant  "unto  all  strangers  as  to 
them  shall  seem  meet  a  naturalization."*  This  at  best  was 
but  a  twice  delegated  power  of  a  twice  doubtful  character. 

The  colonists  however,  were  not  deterred,  as  no  investiga- 
tion seems  to  have  been  made.  It  was  not  until  they  had 
exercised  such  a  power  for  some  time  that  the  question  of  the 
nature  of  this  naturalization  of  theirs  arose  in  England,  and 
it  was  then  called  up  by  the  necessity  of  determining  the  trad- 
ing privileges  of  naturalized  subjects  under  the  Navigation 
Acts.  It  was  decided  that  the  colonial  legislatures,  being  sov- 
ereign only  within  the  bounds  of  the  colony,  could  make  no  laws 
which  would  operate  without  the  colony.  This  made  colonial 
naturalization  local  only.  Foreigners  naturalized  in  a  colony 
were  subjects  of  the  King  when  in  the  colony,  aliens  when  out. 
This  seemed  clear;  but  later  still  the  question  arose  whether 
naturalization  of  an  alien  in  one  colony  did  not  hold  good  in 
another.  This,  too,  received  a  negative  construction,  and  is 
of  particular  interest,  as  it  would  have  established  an  inter- 
colonial citizenship  quite  apart  from  the  English  citizenship. 
Nothing  so  strongly  unifying  could  ever  have  found  recognition 
in  England. 

A  somewhat  imperfect  analogy  to  English  and  colonial  nat- 
uralization is  found  in  the  naturalization  under  the  Constitu- 
tion.   Congress  is  given  power  to  pass  uniform  laws  of  natu- 

*  Art.  of  Agr.,  N.  C,  1666;  item  8,  N.  C.  Rec,  i,  83.  E.  J.,  1665;  item  8, 
N.  J.,  Archives  i,  30. 


NATURALIZATION  IN  THE  ENGLISH  COLONIES — START.     325 

ralization.  Persons  thus  naturalized  are  citizens  of  the  United 
States  as  aliens  naturalized  in  England  or  by  the  law  of  1740 
were  subjects  of  the  King  anywhere  in  the  realm  or  when 
abroad.  But  the  States  may  and  do  confer  privileges,  such  as 
the  suffrage  on  aliens  for  local  purposes.  This  corresponds  in 
a  way  to  the  local  colonial  naturalization. 

This  local  construction  materially  affected  the  privileges  of 
the  alien  naturalized  in  the  colony,  as  by  the  12  &  13  Car.  ii, 
ch.  2,  the  term  English  subject  was  explained  to  mean  persons 
born  in  Great  Britain,  Ireland,  or  the  Plantations,  and  those 
naturalized  in  England.  This  excluded  aliens  naturalized  in 
the  colonies  from  the  usual  trading  privileges,  which  were  con- 
fined to  English  subjects  by  the  Acts,  or  rather  would  have 
had  the  Acts  been  enforced  or  had  the  colonists  recognized  the 
distinction.  Aliens  thus  naturalized,  who  were  tried  in  the 
courts-of  admiralty  for  illegal  trading  plead  the  acts  of  colo- 
nial legislatures  for  their  naturalization  in  extenuation  and 
"the  American  courts  of  justice,"  Chalmers,  in  his  Political 
Annals,  complains  "  with  a  still  grosser  spirit  supported  their 
pretensions  in  opposition  to  the  Acts  of  Navigation"*  It  is  on 
this  ground  of  power  to  trade  illegally  that  most  of  the  bills 
which  met  with  disallowance  at  all,  were  vetoed. 

The  colonists  in  attempting  naturalization  drew  from  their 
English  models.  Denization  was  the  first  form  adopted  in  the 
colonies,  the  letters  patent  being  issued  by  the  governor, 
under  the  mistaken  opinion  that  such  power  was  his  as  the 
King's  deputy.  It  is  found  in  New  York,  Pennsylvania,  Vir- 
ginia, and  continued  until  its  prohibition  at  the  end  of  the 
seventeenth  century.  The  cost  of  denization  was  greater  than 
other  forms  of  naturalization.  Lord  Bellemont  complained  in 
1699  that  he  could  obtain  but  12  shillings  for  his  denizations, 
while  his  predecessor  in  New  York,  Governor  Pletcher,  received 
£10  for  himself  and  £5  for  the  attorney-general.t  Fees  for 
naturalization  in  general  ranged  from  2  to  50  shillings. 

Cut  off  from  denization,  a  hybrid  species,  neither  denization 
nor  naturalization  was  tried.  This  took  the  form  of  naturaliza- 
tion by  letters  patent  issued  by  the  governor,  and  for  which 
there  exists  not  the  slightest  warrant,  as  the  governor  could 
have  no  authority,  communicated  or  otherwise,  for  naturaliza- 
tion. 

^Political  Annals,  pp.  315-317. 

tDocnments  relating  to  Colonial  History  of  New  York,  iv,  520. 


326  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Special  legislation  is  found  as  early  as  1666  in  Maryland, 
but  the  colonies  in  general  did  not  begin  to  use  it  until  the 
beginning  of  the  next  century.  It  continued  to  be  used  more 
and  more,  supplanting  other  processes,  until  at  the  time  of  the 
Eevolution  it  is  the  only  recognized  method.  Special  bills  are 
found  in  all  the  colonies  but  Massachusetts-Bay  and  South 
Carolina. 

In  Maryland,  foreigners  who  have  been  denizated  are  found 
applying  to  the  assembly  for  a  naturalization,  evidently  to 
preclude  the  possibility  of  the  disinheritance  of  their  children. 

It  was  impossible  that  all  the  aliens  who  took  up  lands 
should  be  sufficiently  informed  regarding  the  land  laws  to  seek 
a  naturalization  first.  There  resulted  from  this  practice  such 
a  number  of  defective  titles  that  it  was  found  necessary  to 
remedy  the  matter  by  general  bills  settling  their  titles  en  masse. 
The  first  remedy  was  of  a  rather  peculiar  nature,  being  none 
other  than  the  naturalization  of  the  alien  after  his  decease. 
The  ex  post  facto  nsitxiTe  of  this  soon  brought  it  into  disuse  and 
simple  confirmation  of  title  was  substituted. 

No  persons  were  excluded  from  naturalization  in  the  colonies 
but  Catholics,  and  even  these  were  naturalized  in  Eh  ode 
Island.  Jews  had  provision  made  for  them  in  the  bills  by  the 
usual  omission  from  the  oaths  of  the  words  "on  the  true  faith 
of  a  Christian,''  and  Quakers  were  allowed  to  affirm.  One 
illustration  of  another  kind  of  naturalization  is  found  in 
America — naturalization  after  conquest.  This  takes  place 
either  by  provisions  in  the  treaty  or  "by  act  and  operation  of 
law."  The  Dutch  and  Swedes  included  in  the  grant  to  the 
Duke  of  York  became  English  subjects  in  this  manner  in  1665. 

Action  in  naturalization  differs  in  each  colony,  yet  a  simi- 
larity exists  in  each  of  the  three  groups,  the  Kew  England,  the 
Middle,  and  the  Southern. 

The  causes  of  the  homogeneity  of  the  population  in  Kew 
England,  climatic,  religious,  and  political,  need  little  mention. 
Perhaps  more  effective  than  all  in  excluding  foreigners  was  the 
fact  that  large  grants  of  land  were  impossible  under  the 
township  system. 

The  foreigner  was  not  attracted  thither,  and  had  he  been, 
would  not  have  been  welcomed.  In  Massachusetts  there  is 
practically  no  naturalization.  Eleven  were  naturalized  by  the 
only  law  found  in  the  province,  that  of  1731,  and  but  four  can 


NATURALIZATION  IN  THE  ENGLISH  COLONIES START.     327 

be  found  who  were  naturalized  under  the  English  law  of  1740. 
Ehode  Island,  with  characteristic  independence,  seems  to 
have  made  the  admission  as  freemen  a  substitute  until  she 
adopted  special  legislation.  Connecticut  naturalized  almost 
none  at  all  until  the  other  colonies  were  prohibited  in  1773, 
after  which  special  bills  are  found. 

The  only  naturalization  of  an  Indian  is  found  in  Connecti- 
cut, in  1695.  It  was  enacted  in  favor  of  Abimelech,  the  grand- 
son of  Uncas,  the  Mohegan  chief  who  had  been  such  a  staunch 
friend  of  the  first  Connecticut  settlers.  It  was  passed  that  he 
might  have  the  protection  and  use  of  the  courts  in  a  contro- 
versy concerning  some  lands. 

The  bulk  of  naturalization  fell  to  the  Middle  colonies,  for 
both  there  and  in  the  South  were  found  the  exact  opposites 
of  the  features  which  rendered  New  England  unattractive. 
New  York,  New  Jersey,  and  Pennsylvania  naturalized  large 
numbers,  and  all  the  methods  are  illustrated. 

Maryland  was  the  first  colony  to  extend  a  welcome  to  for- 
eigners, in  the  proclamation  of  Lord  Baltimore  in  1648.  Nat- 
uralization was  begun  almost  immediately  and  continued  with- 
out interruption  in  one  form  or  another,  until  1773.  In  Mary- 
land is  found  the  curious  naturalization  of  children  born  of 
foreign  parents  in  the  province.  Curious,  because  by  the 
standard  by  which  allegiance  was  adjudged,  i.  e.,  by  birth  on 
the  royal  domain,  and  also  by  the  terms  of  the  charter,  children 
born  in  the  province  were  English  subjects.  It  is  yet  another 
illustration  of  the  precautionary  measures  taken  to  avoid  dis- 
inheritance of  children  of  an  alien. 

White  people  of  any  description  were  at  a  premium  in  the 
South  and  foreigners  were  eagerly  welcomed  and  naturalized 
except  in  North  Carolina,  where  little  or  no  naturalization  is 
found.  This  is  peculiar  because  she  had  every  inducement  to 
do  so.  The  foreigners  in  the  colony  were  of  unexceptionable 
character  5  power  had  been  given  to  the  assembly  to  natural- 
ize in  the  Articles  of  Agreement,  and  at  least  on  one  occasion 
instruction  is  given  by  the  home  authorities  to  naturalize  some 
foreigners  sent  there.  Furthermore,  it  was  in  constant  use  in 
the  colonies  on  either  side.  None,  however,  is  found  except 
an  isolated  special  act  and  a  few  in  Orange  and  Eowan  coun- 
ties under  the  law  of  1740. 

Naturalization  in  the  colonies  kept  pace  with  the  trend  of 
the  state  toward  republican  institutions.    It  was  gradually 


328  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

transferred  from  the  executive  to  the  legislative  branch  until 
the  only  change  to  be  made  under  the  Constitution  was  from 
the  several  legislatures  to  the  national  legislature.  As  in 
many  other  instances  of  colonial  legal  practice,  the  feudal 
features  did  not  take  root  in  American  soil.  Denization  has 
no  place  in  a  republic,  but  is  still  one  of  the  prerogatives  of 
the  Queen. 

Naturalization  under  the  Constitution  makes  the  foreigner 
before  the  lav^  exactly  as  if  naturally  born.  Technically,  such 
complete  unrestricted  naturalization  did  not  exist  before  the 
Eevolution,  though  in  the  colonies  the  liberality  of  the  colo- 
nists or  the  evasion  of  English  law  gave  him  all  the  privileges  of 
the  native  colonist.  The  disapproval  of  the  latter  of  the  meas- 
ures taken  in  England  to  exclude  foreigners  from  the  New 
World  after  1760  was  strong  enough  to  find  statement  among 
the  grievances  set  forth  in  the  Declaration.  Public  sentiment 
was  ripe  for  the  foundation  of  the  cosmopolitan  state.  To  one 
fresh  from  the  study  of  the  development  of  Teutonic  institu. 
tions  through  the  Anglo-Saxon  race,  the  fact  comes  as  a  sur- 
prise that  a  cosmopolitan  state  was  founded  and  not  an  Eng- 
land in  petto,  A  more  intimate  knowledge,  however,  of  the 
foreign  strata  of  colonial  society  partially  removes  this,  and 
leaves  a  doubt  whether  a  due  prominence  has  hitherto  been 
given  in  elementary  American  history,  at  least,  to  the  fact  that 
such  a  foundation  was  possible  only  by  reason  of  the  presence, 
and  strong  influence  on  American  institutions  of  other  peoples 
than  the  English.  One  cannot  but  feel,  after  studying  the 
naturalization  in  the  colonies,  that  the  present  policy  of  dis- 
crimination in  nationality,  or  that  any  policy  of  exclusion  other 
than  that  demanded  by  the  preservation  of  autonomy,  is  a 
departure  from  the  original  intention  of  the  founders.  They 
were  not  exclusively  English  in  origin,  and  it  was  not  as  "  We 
the  English  in  America,"  but  as  *^  We,  the  people  of  the  United 
States,"  that  they  set  about  their  work  and  put  into  verbal 
form  the  first  cosmopolitan  state. 


i 


XXIIL— THE  ESTABLISHMENT  OF  THE  FIRST  SOUTHERN 
BOUNDARY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES. 


By  PROF.  B.  A.  HINSDALE, 
OF  THE  UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN. 


329 


THE  ESTABLISHMENT   OF   THE  FIRST  SOUTHERN   BOUNDARY 
OF  THE  UNITED  STATES. 


By  B.  A.  Hinsdale. 


The  purpose  of  this  paper  is  to  direct  attention  to  a  com- 
paratively small  but  very  important  division  of  a  large  subject. 
This  subject  is  the  relations  of  the  United  States  to  the  Mis- 
sissippi Eiver  and  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  from  1779  to  1819,  or 
what  may  be  called  "The  Southwestern  Question."  The 
branch  of  this  subject  to  be  treated  is  the  establishment  of 
our  first  southern  boundary.  To  make  the  theme  in  hand 
fully  intelligible  it  will  be  necessary  briefly  to  state  some  pre- 
liminary facts. 

The  Carolina  charter  of  1663  gave  to  the  lords  proprietors 
a  territory  that  extended  "  southerly  as  far  as  the  river  St. 
Matthias,  which  border eth  upon  the  coast  of  Florida,  and 
within  one  and  thirty  degrees  of  northern  latitude."  *  This  is 
the  first  mention  of  the  thirty- first  parallel  that  is  made  in 
American  history.  From  this  time  England  regarded  the  line 
as  the  proper  southern  limit  of  her  possessions  in  America. 
This  line  Spain  never  recognized.  By  the  treaty  of  1670, 
sometimes  called  "The  American  Treaty," t  His  Catholic 
Majesty  acknowledged  that  His  Britannic  Majesty  had  domin- 
ions in  America,  the  title  and  sovereignty  of  which  ought  not  to 
be  called  in  question,  but  the  two  powers  never  reached  an 
agreement  as  to  their  common  boundary.  In  1763  Spain  ceded 
Florida  to  England,  without  assigning  any  limits  to  the 
province  whatever.  At  the  same  time  France  ceded  to  the 
same  power  not  only  Canada  but  all  her  possessions  in 
Korth  America  lying  east  of  a  line  drawn  through  the  middle 

*  Poorer  Charters  and  Constitutions,  Vol.  i,  p.  1382. 
t  Chalmers :  A  collection  of  Treaties,  Vol.  ii,  p.  34. 

331 


332  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

of  the  Mississippi  from  its  source  to  the  Iberville,  and  thence 
through  the  middle  of  that  stream  and  Lakes  Maurepas  and 
Pontchartrain  to  the  sea,  including  the  river  and  port  of 
Mobile.  The  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  was  made  as  free 
to  the  subjects  of  Great  Britain  as  to  those  of  France,  from  its 
source  to  the  sea.*  At  a  somewhat  earlier  date  France,  by  a 
secret  treaty,  had  ceded  to  Spain  all  her  possessions  west  of 
the  Mississippi,  and  also  the  island  and  town  of  IsTew  Orleans 
on  the  east  side  of  that  river. 

On  October  7,  1763,  George  III,  by  proclamation,  divided 
his  new  possessions  on  the  Gulf  into  the  provinces  of  East  and 
West  Florida,  bounding  them  on  the  north  by  the  thirty-first 
parallel  of  north  latitude  from  the  Mississippi  to  the  Chatta- 
hoochee, by  a  line  drawn  straight  from  the  junction  of  the 
Chattahoochee  and  the  Flint  to  the  source  of  the  St.  Marys, 
and  by  the  St.  Marys  from  its  source  to  the  sea,  and  separating 
them  by  the  Appalachicola.t  This  is  the  second  mention  of 
parallel  thirty-one. 

In  1764  the  lords  of  trade  represented  to  the  King  that  the 
boundary  fixed  for  West  Florida  would  leave  not  only  very 
considerable  settlements  upon  the  east  bank  of  the  Mississippi, 
but  also  the  town  and  settlement  of  Mobile,  to  the  north,  and 
so  beyond  the  limits  of  that  government.  This,  they  said, 
surveys  made  within  the  year  established.  Accordingly  a  new 
boundary  was  fixed,  viz.,  the  parallel  running  through  the 
junction  of  the  Yazoo  and  the  Mississippi  j  in  consequence  of 
which  a  parallelogram  of  territory  as  long  as  the  whole  width 
of  the  States  of  Mississippi  and  Alabama,  and  more  than  a 
degree  in  breadth,  was  added  to  that  province.|  The  fact  is 
that  Mobile  lies  south  of  parallel  thirty-one,  while  it  is  at  least 
doubtful  whether  there  were  at  the  time  any  living  settlements 
at  all  on  the  east  side  of  the  Mississippi  north  of  that  line. 
Nevertheless  the  action  taken  was  a  hinge  upon  which  impor- 
tant events  afterwards  turned. 

British  officers  took  possession  of  West  Florida  in  1764. 
Fort  Eosalie,  which  had  been  destroyed  in  the  Indian  wars, 

*  Chalmers:  A  Collection  of  Treaties,  Vol.  i,  p.  467. 

t  The  Annual  Register  for  1763,  p.  208. 

t  A  Valuable  Collection  of  Documents  in  Regard  to  the  Boundary  of 
Georgia  and  Florida,  furnished  by  George  Chalmers,  of  the  Office  for  Trade, 
Whitehall,  will  be  found  in  American  State  Papers :  Public  Lands,  Vol.  i, 
p.  36,  et  seqq. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.      333 

was  reoccupied  and  rebuilt  and  named  Fort  Panmure.  Fort 
Bute  was  afterwards  built  at  Bayou  Manshac,  tlie  southern 
point,  belonging  to  England,  lying  on  the  river.  At  once 
emigration  began  to  flow  into  the  province  from  England  and 
Ireland,  and  especially  from  the  old  English  colonies.  A  I^orth 
Carolina  emigration,  about  1765,  began  the  settlement  of 
Feliciana,  on  the  Spanish  side  of  the  line.  In  the  Natchez 
district  large  grants  of  land  were  patented,  some  to  famous 
Englishmen  and  Americans.  On  a  tract  of  25,000  acres,  what 
is  known  in  Mississippi  history  as  "the  Jersey  settlement'' 
was  founded  in  1772,  and  soon  became  very  flourishing.*  On 
20,000  acres,  patented  to  Thaddeus  Lyman  for  himself  and 
others,  a  Connecticut  colony  was  established  in  1775.t  A  Mis- 
sissippi historian,  marking  the  superiority  of  the  English  over 
the  earlier  French  emigration  to  the  banks  of  the  lower  Missis- 
sippi, uses  this  language :  f 

*  *'  The  Jersey  settlement,  begun  in  1772,  by  men  of  intelligence,  energy 
and  high  moral  character,  became  prosperous  and  rich,  densely  popu- 
lated, highly  cultivated,  distinguished  for  its  churches  and  schools,  its 
hospitality,  and  refinement.  And  in  the  course  of  years  it  sent  its  thrifty 
colonists  into  many  counties,  carrying  with  them  the  characteristics  of 
the  parent  hive." — Claiborne:  Mississippi  as  a  Province,  Territory,  and 
State,  p.  107. 

tThe  history  of  this  Connecticut  colony  is  of  tragic  interest.  Gen. 
Phineas  Lyman,  of  Connecticut,  distinguished  himself  in  the  French  and 
Indian  War,  as  well  at  the  siege  of  Havana,  where  he  commanded  the  provin- 
cial troops,  as  in  the  wilderness  of  New  York  and  Canada.  The  war  over, 
he  went  to  England  to  procure  for  the  military  adventurers,  consist- 
ing of  himself  and  other  colonial  ofificers  and  soldiers,  a  grant  of  lands 
on  the  Mississippi.  Here  he  remained  for  years,  neglected,  anxious,  mis- 
erable, and  disappointed,  before  he  obtained  the  object  of  his  wishes.  On 
his  return  to  New  England  he  found  that  some  of  his  associates  were 
dead,  while  others  had  lost  interest  in  the  enterprise.  But  Gen.  Lyman, 
his  son,  and  a  few  others,  including  Gen.  Israel  Putnam,  visited  the 
Natchez  district,  with  a  view  to  making  a  settlement.  Lyman's  health 
was  thoroughly  broken  by  his  painful  experience  in  England,  and  he  died 
soon  after  reaching  the  banks  of  the  Mississippi.  His  son  and  widow  did 
not  long  survive  him.  Gen.  Putnam  returned  to  Connecticut.  Such  was 
the  beginning  of  the  Connecticut  colony.  Gen.  Lyman  was  a  devoted 
loyali  st,  and  it  is  curious  to  speculate  what  he  might  have  been  had  he  spent 
the  years  following  the  French-Indian  War  in  New  England  instead  of 
Old  England. — Parkman:  Montcalm,  and  Wolfe;  Bancroft:  History  of  the 
United  States ;  Sabine :  American  Loyalists  {see  indexes  of  these  books) ; 
Claiborne:  Mississippi,  pp.  107-108;  Martin:  History  of  Louisiana,  p. 
221 ;  Peabody :  Life  of  Israel  Putnam,  in  Sparks's  Library  of  American, 
Biography,  Vol.  vii. 

t Claiborne:  Mississippi,  p.  115. 


334  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

The  only  inducement  the  British  authority  held  out  for  immigration 
was  a  liberal  disj>ensation  of  land  to  those  that  rendered  service  to  the 
Crown.  No  transportation  was  furnished ;  few  military  posts  established ; 
no  vain  search  after  metals.  Those  that  came  came  at  their  own  expense. 
They  crossed  the  mountains  to  Pittsburg  or  to  the  head  waters  of  Ten- 
nessee, where  they  often  made  a  crop  of  corn  and  wheat  the  first  season, 
and  then  built  their  boats  and  brought  down  with  them  to  their  point  of 
destination  their  families,  their  slaves  and  stock,  and  a  year's  supply  of 
provisions.  Or  they  came  from  Georgia  and  Carolina,  the  overland  journey 
on  pack  horses,  through  the  Creek  and  Choctaw  territories;  or  by  sea 
from  more  northern  posts  to  Pensacola  and  New  Orleans,  and  then  by 
boats  to  their  respective  stations.  Nine-tenths  of  them  came  to  cultivate 
the  soil;  they  brought  intelligence  and  capital,  and  they  embarked  at 
once  into  the  production  of  supplies  for  home  consumption,  and  selected 
indigo  as  their  crop  for  exportation.  Tobacco  was  next  introduced,  and 
subsequently  cotton.  All  the  necessaries  of  life  were  in  abundance  and 
cheap. 

From  tlie  time  tliat  they  were  admitted  to  the  river,  the 
British  vessels  and  traders  made  the  most  of  their  opportuni- 
ties, and  progressively  they  got  nearly  all  the  trade  of  the 
Louisiana  planters  into  their  hands,  the  Spanish  authorities  at 
New  Orleans  winking  at  the  illicit  commerce. 

The  Revolution  stimulated  rather  than  retarded  the  Missis- 
sippi settlement.  West  Florida  served  a  purpose  not  unlike 
that  of  Halifax  and  Texas  in  after  days.  Ad ven  turers,  outlaws, 
and  fugitives  from  justice  flocked  to  Natchez;  but  these  were 
balanced  by  emigrants  of  cultivation  and  wealth  who  sought 
on  the  Mississippi  or  on  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  an  asylum  from 
the  storms  of  war  that  were  then  sweeping  over  the  Atlantic 
slope.  These  emigrants,  it  is  almost  unnecessary  to  say,  in- 
clined to  the  royal  side.  Some  fled  from  proscription,  some 
from  the  alternative  of  taking  up  arms  at  home  against  their 
kindred  and  friends.  The  landholders  were  for  the  most  part 
educated  men.  Many  of  them  had  held  commissions  in  the 
British  or  the  provincial  army;  others  had  held  civil  ofiBces 
under  the  Crown  or  the  colonies,  and  had  been  accustomed  to 
the  administration  of  the  laws  of  England.  '^Plantations 
rapidly  multiplied,  the  planters  established  credits  in  London, 
Pensacola,  and  Jamacia,  and  received  their  merchandise  and 
negroes  direct  from  those  ports."  "  Profound  peace  and  good 
order  prevailed  in  West  Florida,  and  no  colony  in  the  British 
Empire  or  elsewhere  was  in  a  condition  more  happy  and  pros- 
perous." But  the  issues  of  the  war  were  too  far-reaching  for 
the  lower  Mississippi  to  escape  them.    At  its  beginning  a 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     335 

number  of  merchants  from  Boston,  New  York,  and  Phila- 
delphia,  who  were  well  disposed  toward  the  American  cause, 
established  themselves  in  New  Orleans.  The  most  prominent 
of  these  was  Oliver  Pollock,  who  became  the  accredited  agent 
of  Congress.  With  the  full  knowledge  of  the  Spanish  gov- 
ernor, arms  and  ammunition  were  collected  and  conveyed  up 
the  river  to  Pittsburg.  Natchez  was  the  rendezvous  of  British 
agents,  who  incited  the  Indians  to  fall  upon  the  frontiers  of  the 
States  5  but  the  Mississippi  settlement  as  a  whole  appears  to 
have  preserved  neutrality.  The  colonists  were  the  less  dis- 
posed to  side  with  the  United  States,  because,  in  the  event  of 
war  coming  to  their  doors,  the  Government  could  render  them 
no  real  assistance.  Moreover,  the  powerful  tribes  of  Indians 
lying  between  them  and  the  Atlantic  States  were  attached  to 
the  royal  cause.  One  attempt  was  made  to  bring  West  Florida 
under  the  patriot  flag.  In  1778  Capt.  Willing,  of  Philadel- 
phia, commanding  a  small  force,  and  armed  with  a  commis- 
sion from  Congress,  descended  from  Pittsburg  to  the  lower 
Mississippi,  his  ostensible  mission  being  to  induce  the  inhabi- 
tants to  maintain  a  strict  neutrality  throughout  the  war.  In 
the  Natchez  district  a  large  number  of  the  inhabitants  took 
such  an  oath,  and  Willing  promised  them  protection  in  return. 
His  operations  were  without  influence  upon  the  general  course 
of  events.* 

By  Article  xi  of  the  treaty  of  alliance  that  he  entered  into 
with  Congress  February  6, 1778,  the  Most  Christain  King  of 
France  guarantied  to  the  United  States  their  liberty,  sover- 
eignty, and  independence,  absolute  and  unlimited,  as  well  in 

*  "  From  Pittsburg  and  Kaskaskia  to  the  Spanish  boundary  of  Florida 
the  United  States  in  1779  were  alone  in  possession  of  the  Ohio  and  the  left 
bank  of  the  Mississippi." — Bancroft:  History  of  the  United  States,  vol.  v., 
pp.  315-316.  The  Southwestern  historians  make  Willing  little  better  than 
a  marauder,  and  facts  soon  to  be  stated  will  show  that  Mr.  Bancroft 
attributes  an  exaggerated  importance  to  his  operations.  Martin,  writing 
from  the  standpoint  of  New  Orleans,  says  Willing  laid  waste  plantations, 
destroying  stock,  burning  houses,  and  carrying  off  slaves,  adding: 
'*  Although  the  government  and  people  of  Louisiana  were  well  disposed 
towards  the  United  States,  this  cruel,  wanton,  and  unprovoked  conduct 
towards  a  helpless  community  was  viewed  with  great  indignation  and 
horror,  much  increased  by  the  circumstance  of  Willing  having  been  hos- 
pitably received  and  entertained  the  preceding  year  in  several  houses 
which  he  now  committed  to  the  flames." — History  of  Louisiana,  p.  224. 
See  also  Claiborne :  Mississippi,  pp.  117-221. 


I 


336  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

matters  of  governmeut  as  commerce,  and  also  their  posses- 
sions.* As  the  war^  to  which  France  now  became  a  party,  wore 
on  and  its  burdens  became  heavier  and  heavier,  that  power 
became  somewhat  less  regardful  of  American  interests  and 
rights,  and  finally  assumed  a  tone  that  was  little  less  than 
dictatorial.  Early  in  1779,  in  consequence  of  the  compact 
between  the  two  branches  of  the  Bourbon  family,  she  suc- 
ceeded in  making  Spain  a  party  to  the  war  against  England. 
This  was  a  happy  circumstance  for  the  Americans,  in  so  far  as 
it  arrayed  another  power  against  her  enemy;  at  the  same  time 
it  brought  into  the  field  the  most  dangerous  of  foes  to  their 
territorial  integrity.  Moreover,  the  danger  from  this  quar- 
ter was  all  the  greater  because  the  treaty  of  alliance  with 
France  contained  no  enumeration  or  description  of  the  posses- 
sions of  the  United  States,  leaving  that  question  wholly  open 
to  the  hazards  of  war  and  of  diplomacy. 

In  May,  1779,  the  King  of  Spain  declared  war  against  Eng- 
land, and  in  July  he  authorized  his  subjects  in  the  Indies  to 
take  part  in  it.  Don  Bernardo  de  Galvez,  the  ablest  of  all 
the  Spanish  governors  of  Louisiana,  immediately  took  the 
offensive,  and  by  the  end  of  September  had  reduced  all  the 
British  posts  on  the  Mississippi.  In  March,  1780,  he  captured 
Fort  Carolini  and  the  whole  Mobile  district.  In  May,  1781, 
the  British  authorities  surrendered  to  his  arms  the  town  and 
fortifications  of  Pensacola  and  the  whole  province  of  West 
Florida,  t    These  Spanish  successes  were  immediately  favor- 

*  Treaties  and  conventions  concluded  between  United  States  of  America 
and  other  powers  since  July  4,  1776,  p.  307. 

t  While  Galvez  was  absent  at  Pensacola,  events  occurred  at  Natchez 
that  led  to  one  of  the  tragic  episodes  of  the  Revolution.  Hearing  that  a 
British  fleet  had  been  sighted  off  the  coast,  and  knowing  that  the  governor 
was  absent  from  New  Orleans,  many  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  district, 
including  nearly  the  whole  of  the  Connecticut  colony,  rose  in  opposition 
to  the  Spanish  authority,  raised  the  British  flag,  and  compelled  the  sur- 
render of  Fort  Panmure.  Learning  their  error  and  fearing  the  governor's 
wrath  on  his  return,  a  large  company  of  the  insurgents  resolved  on  aban- 
doning their  homes  and  marching  through  the  wilderness  to  Savannah, 
the  nearest  post  then  in  possession  of  the  English  forces.  "The  war  and 
their  political  sympathies  rendered  a  direct  journey  dangerous,  and  they 
accordingly  selected  a  route  which  caused  them  to  travel  upwards  of  1,300 
miles  and  occupied  one  hundred  and  forty-nine  days.  They  were  all 
mounted  on  horseback,  but  the  ruggedness  of  the  ground  often  required 
them  to  travel  long  distances  on  foot.  Women  and  children  and  infants 
at  the  breast  formed  a  part  of  the  returning  and  suffering  band.    Some 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OP  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     337 

able  to  the  American  cause,  but  in  the  end  they  jeopardized 
important  interests,  since  they  put  the  whole  Southwest  into 
Spanish  hands,  including  a  large  territory  that  the  United 
States  claimed  for  their  own. 

To  keep  the  faith  that  in  the  family  compact  he  had  plighted 
to  his  royal  cousin,  the  King  of  France,  was  only  one  of 
the  motives  that  led  His  Spanish  Majesty  to  declare  war 
against  England.  He  was  ambitious  to  recover  dominions 
once  his,  now  lost.  Nor  was  it  merely  the  Floridas,  which  he 
had  surrendered  in  exchange  for  Havana  in  1763,  that  he 
sought  to  recover.  He  remembered  that  once  Florida  was  the 
name  of  a  region  spreading  from  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  to  the 
springs  of  the  Mississippi,  and  from  the  Atlantic  to  New 
Spain.  He  remembered,  also,  that  once  his  predecessors  had 
claimed  a  shore  line  that  was  unbroken  from  the  bays  of  New 
England  to  the  waters  of  the  Oronoco.  In  the  seventeenth 
century  England  had  seized  upon  the  Atlantic  slope  and 
France  upon  the  Mississippi  Valley.  His  Majesty  could  not 
be  blind  to  the  fact  that  the  Atlantic  front  of  the  continent 
was  lost  to  him  forever,  but  he  thought  its  interior  might  yet 
be  saved.  He  now  held  New  Orleans,  the  western  half  of  the 
Mississippi  Valley,  and  the  Spanish  islands,  which  afforded 
him  the  best  possible  base  of  operations  for  carrying  out  his 
purpose.  The  Mississippi  led  straight  from  the  western 
American  settlements  to  his  dearest  possessions,  Cuba  and 
the  mines  of  Mexico  and  Peru.  Louisiana  for  the  time  served 
as  a  screen  for  these  possessions,  still  it  seemed  to  him  highly 
desirable  to  seize  not  only  Florida  bat  also  the  eastern  bank 
of  the  Mississippi  and  the  streams  cutting  it,  thus  shutting 
the  Americans  up  within  the  Alleghenies  and  the  Atlantic 
Such  was  his  vision.    It  was  as  unsubstantial  as  alluring. 

Taking  advantage  of  the  Spanish  declaration  of  war  against 

were  sick;  all  endured  the  most  exhausting  fatigue,  were  in  constant 
dread  of  meeting  with  savages,  and  were  sometimes  without  sufficient 
food  and  water.  After  reaching  Georgia  the  party  formed  themselves  into 
two  companies.  One  division  became  the  prisoners  of  the  Whigs;  the 
other,  after  surmounting  many  difficulties,  reached  Savannah  in  safety. 
The  captives  were  soon  released.  Among  those  who  arrived  at  Savannah 
were  two  daughters  of  General  Lyman,  both  of  whom  died  at  that  place. 
Such  was  the  calamitous  issue  of  the  life  of  a  gentleman  who  enjoyed, 
before  the  Revolution,  a  reputation  possessed  by  few  of  our  countrymen; 
such,  too,  the  sad  end  of  several  members  of  hia  family."  Sabine :  The 
lioyaliets  of  the  American  Revolution.    Vol.  ii,  pp.  37, 38. 

S,  Mis.  104 22 


338  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

England,  Congress  sent  Jolin  Jay  to  Madrid  towards  the  close 
of  1779  to  negotiate,  if  possible,  treaties  similar  to  those  that 
had  been  already  entered  into  with  France.  He  was  author- 
ized to  guarantee  the  Floridas  to  Spain,  provided  the  fortunes 
of  war  should  place  them  in  her  hands,  and  also  instructed  to 
insist  upon  the  free  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  into  and  from 
the  sea,  and  to  procure  a  concession  of  commercial  privileges 
south  of  the  parallel  of  thirty-one  degrees.*  This  line  Congress 
had  already  declared  the  southern  boundary  of  the  United 
States  from  the  Mississippi  to  the  Chattahoochee.t  The  Spanish 
court  refused  to  receive  Mr.  Jay,  but  discussed  with  him  the 
objects  of  his  mission  informally  and  unofficially.^  The  trouble 
was  that  Congress  had  instructed  its  representative  to  insist 
upon  concessions  of  navigation  and  commerce.  When  all  is 
said,  Spain  had  entered  upon  the  war  with  only  half  a  heart; 
and  France,  becoming  weary  of  the  struggle  herself  and  anx- 
ious to  induce  Spain  to  recognize  the  independence  of  the  United 
States  and  thus  to  close  the  triple  alliance,  prevailed  upon 
Congress  to  withdraw  the  offensive  ultimatum.§  This  action, 
however,  made  no  difference;  the  Spanish  court  still  refused 
to  treat  with  the  American  commissioner.  So  matters  stood 
when  Mr.  Jay  left  Madrid  for  Paris  in  the  summer  of  1782.  In 
the  meantime  events  had  not  stood  still  in  America. 

Galvez's  brilliant  successes  seemed  to  demonstrate  the  feas- 
ibility of  the  Spanish  plan  to  recover  the  Floridas  and  the 
eastern  half  of  the  Mississippi  Valley,  thus  restoring  an 
unbroken  Spanish  coast  line  from  the  capes  of  Florida  to  the 
confines  of  Brazil.  The  Spanish  court  became  less  and  less 
disposed  to  treat  with  Congress  as  time  went  on.  Besides  the 
Spanish  victories  in  the  Southwest,  the  commandant  at  St. 
Louis  sent  a  force  across  the  frozen  prairies  of  Illinois,  Indiana, 
and  Michigan,  in  the  winter  of  1780-'81,  that  seized  St.  Joseph, 
on  the  river  of  that  name,  capturing  the  garrison,  taking 
formal  possession  of  the  country,  and  carrying  off  the  British 
colors  as  a  trophy  of  victory  and  an  evidence  of  conquest.]  |     The 

*  Secret  Journals  of  the  Congress  of  the  Confederation,  Vol.  ii,  p.  261. 

ilMd.,  Vol.  II,  p.  225. 

tThe  Diplomatic  Correspondence  of  the  American  Revolution,  edited  by 
Jared  Sparks,  Vol.  viii. 

$  Secret  Journals,  Vol.  ii,  p.  393. 

II  See  ''The  March  of  the  Spaniards  across  Illinois,"  a  paper  read  before 
the  American  Historical  Association  by  Edward  G.  Mason,  esq.,  of  Chi- 
cago, and  printed  in  full  in  the  Magazine  of  American  History,  May,  1886  j 
also  "Narrative  and  Critical  History,"  Vol.  vi.  Chap.  ix. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     339 

avowed  object  of  this  expedition  was  to  give  Spain  a  ground  of 
claim  to  the  Korthwest  like  that  which  she  had  already- 
acquired  to  the  Southwest.  The  i^roceeding  was  the  more 
audacious,  as  at  this  very  time  Illinois  was  in  possession  of 
American  troops. 

Even  to  summarize  the  history  of  the  long  negotiation  for 
peace  that  opened  in  Paris  early  in  1782,  and  much  more  to 
deal  with  the  controversies  to  which  these  negotiations  have 
given  rise,  is  quite  beyond  the  present  purpose.  However,  it 
is  important  to  state  three  or  four  leading  facts  attending  the 
negotiations  before  passing  to  the  results  reached  that  are 
most  pertinent  to  the  present  inquiry. 

England  strove  to  limit  the  western  extension  of  the  United 
States.  First,  she  proposed  the  Allegheny  Mountains  as  a 
boundary,  and  afterwards  the  Ohio  Eiver.  Spain  opposed  a  still 
more  determined  resistance  to  such  extension.  Her  first  propo- 
sition was  the  AUeghenies;  afterwards  she  proposed  a  line 
that  was  more  favorable  to  the  United  States,  but  still  one  that 
excluded  her  from  the  Mississippi  throughout  its  entire  length. 
As  we  have  already  seen,  the  treaty  of  alliance  did  not  commit 
France  to  any  particular  American  boundaries  j  and  Count  de 
Yergennes,  as  one  of  the  last  writers  upon  the  subject  states 
the  case,  avowedly  directed  his  representatives  in  Philadelphia 
"  to  represent  to  Congress  (1)  that  France  herself  would  look  for- 
ward, if  the  war  continued,  to  regain  her  own  control  of  Canada 
and  the  fisheries,  and  that  she  was  unwilling  to  see  Spain  dis- 
turbed on  the  Mississippi;  and  (2)  that  the  United  States,  by 
asking  so  much,  might  drive  Great  Britain  to  desperation,  and, 
by  awakening  again  the  war  fever  in  England,  wantonly  pro- 
tract the  war.''*    All  objections  and  resistance  from  whatever 

*For  the  Negotiations  at  Paris,  1782-'83,  see  Diplomatic  Correspondence 
of  the  Revolution,  Vol.  x,  p.  7  (report  made  by  the  American  commis- 
sioners) ;  id.,  Vol.  VIII,  pp.  21,  129  (Jay's  Letters)  j  Bancroft :  History, 
Vol.  V,  Chaps.,  v-vii ;  John  Jay :  The  Peace  Negotiations  of  1782-'83,  an 
address  delivered  before  the  New  York  Historical  Society,  November  27, 
1883,  Narrative  and  Critical  History,  Vol.  vii.  Chap,  ii  (the  Peace  Nego- 
tiations of  1782-'83) ;  Winsor :  Narrative  and  Critical  History  (editorial 
notes  to  Vol.  VII,  Chap,  vii);  Wharton:  International  Law  of  the  United 
States,  Vol.  iii.  Appendix  (Peace  Negotiations  of  1782-'83  with  Great 
Britain);  Angell:  Narrative  and  Critical  History,  Vol.  vii.  Chap,  vil 
(the  diplomacy  of  the  United  States);  Lyman:  The  Diplomacy  of  the 
United  States,  Vol.i ;  Lecky :  History  of  England  in  the  Eighteenth  Century, 
Vol.  IV,  Chap.  XV ;  Lord  Fitzmaurice:  Life  of  William  Earl  Shelbume, 
Vol.  Ill,  Chaps.  IV,  VI ;  John  Adams:  Works,  Vol.  i  (Appendix  6). 


340  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

source  proved  unavailing.  The  American  commissioners,  disre- 
garding their  instructions  to  consult  the  King  of  France  in  the 
negotiations  for  peace  or  truce  at  every  step,  entered  into  a  sepa- 
rate and  secret  preliminary  treaty  with  Great  Britain,  to  which, 
however,  the  King  afterward  consented.  On  the  west  and 
south  the  lines  laid  down  in  1763  became  the  national  boun- 
daries; the  middle  of  the  Mississippi  to  the  thirty-first  parallel, 
and  the  thirty-first  parallel,  a  straight  line  drawn  from  the  junc- 
tion of  the  Chattahoochee  and  the  Flint  to  the  head  of  the  St. 
Marys,  and  the  St.  Marys  to  the  sea.  On  November  30,  1782, 
when  this  treaty  was  executed,  England,  France,  and  Spain 
were  still  engaged  in  active  war  j  and  the  English  diplomatists 
at  Paris  prevailed  upon  the  Americans  to  a^ree  to  this  separate 
article,  which,  for  a  time,  was  kept  a  profound  secret.  ^^  It  is 
hereby  understood  and  agreed  that  in  case  Great  Britian,  at  the 
conclusion  of  the  present  war,  shall  recover  or  be  put  in  posses- 
sion of  West  Florida,  the  line  of  north  boundary  between  the 
said  province  and  the  United  States  shall  be  a  line  drawn 
from  the  mouth  of  the  river  Yassous,  where  it  unites  with  the 
Mississippi,  due  east  to  the  river  Appalachicola."  *  On  Septem- 
ber 3,  1783,  the  preliminary  treaty  agreed  upon  the  i^revious 
November,  with  the  omission  of  the  separate  article,  became 
the  definitive  treaty  between  the  two  nations.  Great  Britain 
had  not  recovered  or  been  put  in  i)ossession  of  West  Florida. 
On  the  contrary,  in  the  treaty  of  i)eace  entered  into  by  Eng- 
land, France,  and  Spain  at  the  same  date.  His  Britannic  Majesty 
ceded  and  guarantied  to  His  Catholic  Majesty,  in  full  right, 
both  East  and  West  Florida.!  At  the  conclusion  of  these 
negotiations  two  facts  boded  ill  to  the  future  peace  of  the 
United  States.  First,  England  had  ceded  to  Spain  West 
Florida  without  any  description  of  boundaries  whatever,  thus 
leaving  its  extent  to  be  determined  from  the  facts  of  history. 
The  United  States  could  urge  that  the  original  northern  bound- 
ary of  West  Florida  and  the  treaty  boundary  of  1782-'83 
exactly  coincided;  but  Spain  could  reply  that  the  line  of  1764 
had  superseded  that  of  the  previous  year,  and  that  her  troops 
were  actually  in  possession  of  the  left  bank  of  the  Mississippi 
for  a  considerable  distance  north  of  parallel  thirty-one  at  the 

*  Treaties  and  Conventions  concluded  between  the   United  States  of 
America  and  other  Powers,  p.  373. 
t  Chalmers:  A  Collection  of  Treaties,  Vol.  i,  p.  495. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OP  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.      341 

time  when  England  had  ceded  it  to  the  United  States.  At 
one  time  Spain  seemed  to  acquiesce  in  the  southern  bound- 
ary that  England  made.  At  least  Lafayette,  in  February 
1783,  received  assurances  in  Madrid  that  the  Spanish  court 
had  fully  accepted  the  preliminary  treaty  between  the  United 
States  and  the  Court  of  London,  Count  de  Florida  Blanca 
giving  his  word  of  honor  to  that  effect.  The  Marquis  was  also 
assured  that  fear  of  raising  an  object  of  dissension  was  the  only 
objection  that  the  King  had  to  the  free  navigation  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi.* But  His  Catholic  Majesty  did  not  long  remain  of 
this  way  of  thinking.  He  soon  began  to  plead  that  he  held  not 
merely  West  Florida  up  to  the  line  of  1764  by  right  of  conquest, 
but  also  a  region  extending  far  to  the  north  of  that  line. 
When  the  secret  article  of  the  treaty  of  1782  became  known. 
His  Catholic  Majesty  fairly  blazed  with  indignation.  He 
declared  that  the  two  contracting  powers  had  no  right  to  dis- 
pose of  territory  that  was  at  the  time  in  the  possession  of  his 
own  troops.  Furthermore,  the  subject  was  complicated  with 
the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi.  His  Majesty  denied  that  the 
concession  of  the  free  navigation  of  the  river  which  France 
had  made  to  England  in  1763,  and  which  was  the  basis  of  the 
article  in  the  treaty  of  1783  whereby  the  United  States  and 
England  had  guarantied  to  each  other  the  free  navigation  of 
the  river,  was  in  any  way  binding  upon  him  j  and  he  protested 
that  he  would  not  permit  any  nation  to  navigate  between  the 
banks  of  the  Mississippi  as  far  northward  as  his  royal  arms 
held  possession  of  the  country.  Secondly,  at  the  close  of  the 
war  England  was  in  possession  of  the  Northwestern  posts 
extending  from  Oswego  to  Mackinaw,  and  stoutly  refused  to 
surrender  them.  Thus  both  the  Southwestern  and  Northwest- 
ern limbs  of  the  Eepublic  remained  in  possession  of  foreign 
powers.  The  positions  that  Spain  and  England  held  within 
the  national  terrritory  on  the  Mississippi  and  on  the  Great 
Lakes,  in  addition  to  being  irritating  and  confining  to  the 
United  States,  enabled  those  powers  to  make  the  most  of 
any  mishap  that  might  befall  the  new  member  of  the  family  of 
nations. 

So  the  treaties  required  to  close  the  cycle  of  the  American 
Revolution  were  concluded  without  an  adjustment  of  the  South- 
western question,  in  either  of  its  phases,  being  reached.    Con- 


ibfe 


American  State  Papers:  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  I,  pp.  250,  251. 


342  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

gress  recovered  from  the  panic  in  which,  obediently  to  the 
dictation  of  France,  it  had  modified  its  instructions  to  Mr.  Jay, 
and  on  June  3,  1784,  instructed  its  diplomatic  representatives 
in  Europe,  in  any  negotiation  that  they  might  enter  upon  with 
that  power,  not  to  relinquish  or  cede  to  Spain,  in  any  event 
whatsoever,  the  right  of  the  citizens  of  the  United  States  to 
the  free  navigation  of  the  river  Mississippi  from  its  source  to 
its  mouth.* 

His  Catholic  Majesty  took  immediate  steps  to  secure  his 
position.  In  May,  1784,  acting-Governor  Miro,  of  New  Orleans, 
held  the  first  of  a  series  of  Congresses  with  the  Indians  of  the 
Southwest,  with  the  object  of  attaching  them  firmly  to  the  Span- 
ish interest.  Spanish  agents  also  incited  the  Indians  to  hos- 
tilities against  the  United  States,  and  furnished  them  with 
arms  and  ammunition.  Treaties  between  the  Indians  and  the 
United  States  were  prevented  or  broken  up.  In  1794  Gov- 
ernor-General Carondelet  boasted  that  he  could  at  any  time 
bring  twenty  thousand  warriors  into  the  field  against  the  Ameri- 
cans. In  July,  1788,  a  detachment  of  the  Louisiana  regiment 
was  sent  to  fortify  New  Madrid.  Natchez,  Walnut  Hills,  and 
Chickasaw  Bluffs,  all  on  the  east  side  of  the  river,  were  more 
strongly  fortified.  Armed  galleys  patrolled  the  river.  Land 
grants  were  freely  made  in  the  disputed  district,  and  surveyors 
were  actually  engaged  in  running  out  such  grants  when  the 
American  commissioner  arrived  in  1797  to  run  the  international 
boundary.  More  than  all,  repeated  attempts  were  made  to 
seduce  the  Western  people  from  their  allegiance,  and  to  bring 
about  their  union  with  Louisiana. 

In  the  mean  time  attempts  were  made  to  adjust  the  pending 
difficulties.  To  enter  upon  a  i)articular  account  of  the  negotia- 
tions with  Spain  between  1783  and  1795,  or  to  investigate  those 
causes,  as  the  growth  of  population  west  of  the  Alleghenies, 
its  character  and  geographical  and  commerical  relations,  which 
made  a  settlement  increasingly  important  and  also  difficult,  is 
foreign  to  the  present  purpose.  A  general  characterization  of 
the  negotiations  will  suffice. 

In  1784  His  Catholic  Majesty  sent  Don  Diego  de  Gardoqui 
to  reside  near  Congress  in  the  quality  of  Encargado  de  Nego- 
cios,  commissioning  him  to  treat  concerning  the  limits  of  the 
two  countries  and  other  matters  about  which  it  was  desirable 

*The  Secret  Journals,  Vol.  in,  p.  510. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES HINSDALE.      343 

that  there  should  be  a  good  understanding  between  the  two 
powers.  In  July  of  the  following  year  Congress  invested  Mr. 
Jay,  then  Secretary  to  the  United  States  for  Foreign  Affairs, 
with  power  to  treat  with  the  Encargado,  subject  to  its  own  in- 
structions.* For  three  years  the  negotiation  dragged  its  slow 
length  along.  The  Encargado  was  perfectly  willing  to  make 
liberal  commercial  concessions,  which  Mr.  Jay  was  very  anx- 
ious to  secure,  but  he  would  not  yield  either  the  boundaries 
or  the  right  of  navigation.  Jay  was  willing,  for  the  time,  to 
waive  the  right  of  navigation,  and  even  to  yield  something  as 
to  limits.  The  Kew  England  members  of  Congress,  eager  for 
commerical  privileges  and  indifferent  to  the  West,  agreed  with 
Mm.  The  Southern  members,  indifferent  to  commerce  and 
keenly  interested  in  the  West,  strongly  dissented.t  The  Mid- 
dle State  members  were  divided,  but  the  majorities  of  the 
delegations  voted  with  the  Secretary.  In  August,  1786, 
Congress  went  so  far  as  to  withdraw  its  previous  insistence 
upon  the  navigation  and  the  treaty  line  of  1782-'83,  but  the 

*Tlie  Secret  Journals,  Vol.  iii,  p.  570. 

tHow  fully  Informed  of  western  matters  Washington  was,  and  liow 
deeply  interested  in  them,  is  a  common  place.  His  celebrated  letter  to 
Governor  Harrison,  of  Virginia,  written  in  1784,  is  well  known.  But  I  do 
not  remember  to  have  seen  attention  directed  to  an  equally  interesting 
letter  written  to  Richard  Henry  Lee,  President  of  Congress,  August  22, 
1785,  at  the  very  time  when  Jay  was  entering  into  the  discussion  with 
Gardoqui.  '^  However  singular  the  opinion  may  be,"  he  wrote,  ^'I  can 
not  divest  myself  of  it,  that  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi,  at  this 
time,  ought  to  be  no  object  with  us.  On  the  contrary,  until  we  have  a 
little  time  allowed  to  open  and  make  easy  the  ways  between  the  Atlantic 
States  and  the  western  territory,  the  obstructions  had  better  remain. 
There  is  nothing  which  binds  one  country  or  one  state  to  another  but 
interest.  Without  this  cement  the  western  inhabitants,  who  more  than 
probably  will  be  composed  in  a  great  degree  of  foreigners,  can  have  no 
predilection  for  us,  and  a  commerical  connection  is  the  only  tie  we  can 
have  upon  them.  It  is  clear  to  me  that  the  trade  of  the  lakes,  and  of 
the  river  Ohio,  as  low  as  the  Great  Kenhawa  if  not  to  the  Falls,  may  be 
brought  to  the  Atlantic  ports  easier  and  cheaper,  taking  the  whole  voyage 
together,  than  it  can  be  carried  to  New  Orleans;  but,  once  open  the  door 
to  the  latter  before  the  obstructions  are  removed  from  the  former,  let  com- 
mercial connections,  which  lead  to  others,  be  formed,  and  the  habit  of 
that  trade  be  well  established,  and  it  will  be  found  to  be  no  easy  matter 
to  divert  it ;  and  vice  vei'sa.  When  the  settlements  are  stronger  and  more 
extended  to  the  westward,  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  will  be  an 
object  of  importance,  and  we  shall  then  be  able,  reserving  our  claims,  to 
speak  a  more  efficacious  language  than  policy,  I  think,  dictates  at  pres- 
ent. "—Sparks :  Writings  of  Washington,  Vol.  ix,  p.  119. 


344  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

vote,  which  stood  7  to  5,*  was  insufficient  to  ratify  a  treaty  had 
onebeen  concluded,  to  say  nothing  of  the  storm  of  opposition  that 
it  stirred  up  throughout  the  South  and  West.  So  no  conclu- 
sion was  reached.  The  last  action  that  the  old  Congress  took 
in  relation  to  foreign  affairs,  so  far  as  the  Secret  Journals  show, 
was  the  adoption  of  a  resolution,  September  16,  1788,t  which 
referred  the  negotiations  with  Spain  to  the  new  government 
about  to  be  organized  under  the  Constitution.  In  one  of  his 
communications  to  Congress,  Mr.  Jay  expressed  the  opinion 
that  the  Encargado,  notwithstanding  the  much  greater  extent 
of  the  Spanish  territorial  claims,  would  yield  all  territory  north 
of  the  Yazoo  line,  provided  other  matters  could  be  satisfactorily 
adjusted.  In  1789  Gardoqui  returned  to  Spain.  He  had  been 
in  the  country  more  than  four  years;  he  had  observed  its 
internal  dissentions  and  weakness,  and  formed  the  opinion  that 
any  foreign  power  which  pleased  could  safely  take  a  high  hand 
with  the  Government;  he  had  failed  in  a  negotiation  that  he 
had  much  at  heart,  and  his  observation  and  experience  vexed 
not  a  little  the  course  of  the  negotiation  undertaken  in  Madrid 
four  years  later,  f 

Towards  the  close  of  1791,  Mr.  Jefferson  conveyed  to  the 
President  intelligence  which  he  had  received  from  Madrid,  to 
the  effect  that  the  Court  of  Spain  was  ready  to  enter  into  a 
negotiation  at  Madrid  respecting  the  navigation  of  the  Missis- 
sippi. Washington  accordingly  appointed  two  commissioners, 
William  Carmichael  and  William  Short,  then  charges  des 
affaires  of  the  United  States  at  Madrid  and  Paris,  respectively, 
to  conduct  such  negotiation.  Subsequently  its  scope  was 
enlarged  so  as  to  include  commerce.  For  the  guidance  of  the 
commissioners,  the  Secretary  of  State  drew  up  an  elaborate 
letter  of  instruction  regarding  the  Mississippi,  the  boundary, 
and  commercial  relations.  Unfortunately,  the  Spanish  Court 
intrusted  the  negotiation  to  Gardoqui,  the  same  who  had  con- 
ducted the  earlier  discussion  with  Mr.  Jay.  There  were  fre- 
quent delays.  The  American  commissioners  reported  from 
time  to  time  that  the  phases  of  the  discussion  changed  fre- 
quently, responding  to  the  changes  of  European  politics.    On 

*  Secret  Journals,  Vol.  iv,  p.  109,  110. 

t  IMd.,  Vol.  IV,  p.  454. 

IThe  Jay-Gardoqui  correspondence  is  found  in  the  Diplomatic  Cor- 
respondence of  the  United  States  from  1783  to  1789,  Vol.  iii,  pp.  135-281, 
and  in  the  State  Papers:  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  i,  pp.  248,  252. 


I 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     345 

June  6, 1793,  they  wrote  that  Spain  would  consider  herself 
better  secured  against  the  United  States  whilst  united  with 
England  against  France,  which  was  already  attacked  by  the 
most  formidable  powers  of  Europe,  then  whilst  united  with 
France,  whose  partiality  for  us  she  distrusted,  and  opposed  to 
England,  whose  concert  with  us  she  would  have  apprehended. 
The  English  ambassador,  they  had  reason  to  think,  influenced 
the  negotiation  unfavorably.  France  was  an  uncertain  factor  in 
the  problem.  Nothing  but  fear  of  England  would  constrain 
Spain  to  yield  the  American  claims.  The  sentiment  of  the 
Spanish  Court,  owing  to  its  present  partiality  for  London,  had 
changed  since  their  commission  was  given  them.  Gardoqui 
remembered  with  bitterness  his  failure  at  New  York,  and 
charged  a  policy  of  delay  upon  Congress.  He  seemed  to  think 
that  the  people  of  the  West  could  be  driven  to  separate  from 
the  Union  and  to  ally  themselves  with  Spain,  if  the  naviga- 
tion of  the  Mississippi  were  denied.  The  breakup  of  the  Union 
he  thought  certain.  So  the  commissioners  ceased  to  press 
their  case.  They  did  not  believe  that  anything  could  be  gained 
by  forcing  Spain  into  the  arms  of  the  Court  of  London  and  into 
refusing  the  American  claims  as  a  finality.  Time  confirmed 
the  insight  of  the  commissioners.  Spain  never  yielded  the 
points  in  controversy  until  driven  to  do  so  by  her  fears  grow- 
ing out  of  European  complications.* 

The  Spanish  commissioners  at  Philadelphia  having  repre- 
sented that  the  way  was  again  open  to  renew  negotiations  at 
Madrid,  President  Washington  appointed,  November  24, 1794, 
Thomas  Pinckney,  then  minister  at  the  Court  of  St.  James, 
envoy  extraordinary  and  sole  commissioner  i)lenipotentiary  to 
proceed  to  Spain  upon  such  a  mission.  The  subjects  of  nego- 
tiation were  to  be  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi,  the  bound- 
aries, and  commerce.  Mr.  Pinckney  accordingly  proceeded  to 
Spain,  where  he  entered  into  a  discussion  of  these  subjects 
with  the  Duke  de  la  Alcudia,  otherwise  known  as  the  Prince 
of  Peace.  Mr.  Pinckney  encountered  the  delays  incident  to 
Spanish  negotiations. 

Writing  to  the  Secretary  of  State  July  21  of  the  next  year, 
Mr.  Pinckney  said  he  had  found  the  Spanish  court  still  anxious 
for  further  delay,  which  to  them  was  an  equivalent  to  a  cession 

*  The  documentary  history  of  this  negotiation  is  found  in  the  American 
State  Papers:  Foreign  Eelations,  Vol.  i,  pp.  252-286,  including  Mr.  Jeflfer- 
son's  elaborate  letter  of  instructions  to  the  Commissioners. 


346  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

of  our  rights  so  long  as  they  were  in  possession  of  the  objects  of 
controversy.  He  said  it  was  important  to  close  the  business 
before  the  war  with  England  should  come  to  an  end.  He  re- 
ported that  the  court  had  submitted  various  propositions,  as 
that  the  negotiations  depended  upon  the  relations  of  Sixain  and 
France,  and  that  those  two  powers  and  the  United  States 
should  form  a  triple  alliance.  On  August  11  he  wrote  that  the 
court  was  still  pursuing  its  system  of  delay  5  also  that  he  had 
been  asked  to  agree  to  the  insertion  in  the  treaty  of  a  guaranty 
by  the  United  States  of  Spain's  American  possessions,  which 
he  had  refused,  very  much  to  the  mortification  of  the  Prince  of 
Peace.  He  expressed,  however,  the  opinion  that  the  new  posi- 
tion of  Spain  would  induce  the  court  to  come  to  a  decision. 
The  main  points  of  difficulty,  as  before,  were  the  boundaries 
and  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi. 

On  August  10, 1795,  Mr.  Pinckney  submitted  to  the  Prince 
a  brief  memoir  on  the  two  main  subjects  of  controversy,  which 
is  one  of  the  ablest  state  papers  relating  to  the  subject.  The 
preliminary  treaty  of  peace  between  Spain  and  Great  Britain 
at  the  close  of  the  war,  he  said,  had  followed  the  preliminary 
treaty  between  the  United  States  and  the  same  i)ower ;  the  two 
dates  were  November  30, 1782,  and  January  20,  1783.  Great 
Britain,  humiliated  as  she  had  been  in  the  war,  could  not  be 
supposed  to  have  ceded  to  Spain  at  the  second  of  these  dates 
what  she  had  already  ceded  to  the  United  States  at  the  earlier 
one.  Spain  had  known  all  about  the  proclamation  line  of  1763 
for  nine  years  j  and  if  she  was  not  satisfied  with  it  she  should 
have  expressed  her  dissatisfaction  in  a  manner  to  afi*ect  her 
treaty  with  Great  Britain.  Further,  the  treaty  of  November 
30,  1782,  had  at  once  been  communicated  to  France  by  the 
American  commissioners,  and  no  doubt  to  Spain  by  the  French 
minister.  Accordingly,  on  January  20, 1783,  Spain  must  have 
known  what  had  been  done  on  November  30  of  the  previous 
year;  and  if  dissatisfied  therewith  she  should  have  directed 
negotiations  to  the  boundary  with  a  view  of  having  it  changed 
in  the  definitive  treaty  between  United  States  and  Great  Brit- 
ain. Still  further,  Spain  did  not  conclude  her  definitive  treaty 
with  Great  Britain  until  September  3, 1783,  so  that  she  had 
ample  opportunity  to  seek  a  rectification  of  the  boundary. 
Either  Spain  made  no  attempt  to  have  the  question  reopened  or 
or  was  refused;  accordingly  she  was  estopped  in  either  case. 
Taking  up  the  argument  based  on  conquest,  Mr.  Pinckney 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     347 

observed  that  before  the  war  the  territory  in  dispute  belonged 
either  to  the  United  States  or  to  Great  Britain  ^  if  to  the  United 
States,  Spain  could  not  make  conquests  there  because  she  had 
not  been  at  war  with  the  United  States  j  if  to  Great  Britain, 
Spain  had  bound  herself  by  the  sixth  article  of  her  treaty  with 
that  power  to  surrender  all  territory  that  she  had  conquered 
not  included  in  the  cessions  that  were  then  made. 

As  to  the  use  of  the  Mississippi,  the  minister  passed  by  the 
argument  based  on  natural  rights  with  the  remark  that  he  re- 
garded it  perfectly  conclusive.  The  right  of  the  United  States 
to  navigation  originated  in  contracts  and  stipulations  entered 
into  between  France  and  England  when  Spain  had  no  interest 
in  the  subject.  Louisiana  and  the  Floridas  had  been  ceded  to 
her  subject  to  these  contracts  and  stipulations^  and  she  was 
bound  by  them.  Those  two  powers,  at  a  time  when  Spain 
owned  no  territory  touching  the  Mississippi,  had  declared  that 
all  the  subjects  of  the  British  Empire  should  have  the  right  of 
navigating  the  river  in  its  full  extent  from  its  source  to  the 
ocean.  This  stipulation  had  been  made  particularly  in  the 
interest  of  the  United  States,  then  a  constituent  part  of  the 
British  Empire.  Mr.  Pinckney  demanded  which  of  those  two 
contracting  j)owers  could  now  lawfully  deprive  us  of  that  right. 
Kot  France,  for  she  had  ceded  her  power  to  England  in  1763, 
and  had  afterwards,  by  the  treaty  of  alliance  in  1778,  guaran- 
teed the  territory  of  the  United  States.  Not  Great  Britain, 
for  such  a  step  would  be  in  contravention  of  the  treaty  of  1782. 
Finally,  the  arguments  based  on  Spain's  knowledge  of  the  facts 
in  relation  to  the  boundary  applied  with  still  greater  force  to 
her  pretended  right  to  the  exclusive  navigation  of  the  river.* 

Upon  the  two  subjects  the  Spanish  minister  does  not  appear 
to  have  entered  into  any  argument  whatever.  In  his  final 
letter  to  Philadelphia,  written  October  28,  the  American  envoy 
said  that  the  peace  just  concluded  between  Spain  and  France, 
the  pacific  disposition  of  Great  Britain  towards  Spain,  and  the 
critical  relations  of  Great  Britain  and  the  United  States  had 
tended  to  hinder  the  negotiation.  He  reported  that  he  had 
been  compelled  to  abandon  his  original  idea  of  securing  a  close 
commercial  connection  with  Spain,  declaring  his  belief  to  be 
that  Spain  wished  to  reserve  the  commercial  advantages  that 

*  The  documentary  history  of  this  negotiation  is  found  in  the  American 
State  Papers:  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  i,  pp.  533-549. 


348  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

she  could  offer  to  the  United  States  as  the  equivalent  for  a 
guaranty  of  her  American  possessions. 

On  October  27,  1795,  Thomas  Pinckney  and  the  Prince  of 
Peace,  at  San  Lorenzo  el  Eeal,  set  their  signatures  to  the  first 
treaty  between  the  two  powers.  This  treaty  contained  the 
following  among  other  stipulations: 

1.  That  the  line  conceded  to  Great  Britain  in  1783  should  be  the  bound- 
ary between  the  United  States  and  East  and  West  Florida  from  the  Mis- 
sissippi to  the  Atlantic. 

2.  That  either  party  should  withdraw  any  troops,  garrisons,  or  settle- 
ments that  it  might  have  within  the  territory  of  the  other  as  thus  defined 
within  six  months  after  the  ratification  of  the  treaty,  and  sooner  if  possible. 

3.  That  each  of  the  contracting  parties  should  appoint  one  commissioner 
and  one  surveyor  to  run  and  mark  the  boundary,  and  that  they  should 
meet  for  that  purpose  before  the  expiration  of  six  months  from  the  ratifi- 
cation of  the  treaty. 

4.  That  the  middle  of  the  channel  of  the  Mississippi  should  be  the  west- 
ern boundary  of  the  United  States,  from  the  sources  of  the  river  to  the  par- 
allel of  thirty-one  degrees. 

5.  That  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  throughout  its  whole  length 
should  be  free  to  the  citizens  of  the  United  States. 

6.  That  neither  party  should  permit  the  Indians  living  within  its  terri- 
tory to  attack  the  other  party  or  the  Indians  living  within  its  boundaries. 

7.  That  His  Catholic  Majesty  would  permit  the  citizens  of  the  United 
States,  for  the  space  of  three  years  from  the  ratification  of  the  treaty,  to 
deposit  their  merchandise  and  effects  in  the  port  of  New  Orleans,  and  to 
reship  the  same  without  paying  other  duties  than  a  fair  price  for  storage, 
and  that  on  the  expiration  of  this  time  His  Majesty  would  either  renew 
this  permission  or  assign  for  the  same  purpose  an  equivalent  establishment. 

It  was  also  agreed  that  if,  for  any  reason,  the  surveying 
I^arty  needed  the  protection  of  troops,  they  should  be  furnished 
by  the  two  nations  in  equal  numbers.* 

The  ratifications  of  the  treaty  were  exchanged  April  25, 1796, 
and  it  was  proclaimed  August  2.  As  respects  the  Southwestern 
Question,  it  was  a  complete  reversal  of  the  policy  which  Spain 
had  constantly  pursued  since  1779.  It  is  not  certain  that  she 
ever  expected,  even  for  a  moment,  to  execute  its  provisions  in 
good  faith.  Since  1793  she  had  parted  company  with  England, 
and  was  now  completely  under  the  influence  of  the  French 
Directory.  Mr.  Pinckney's  opinion  was  that  fear  lest  the 
United  States  and  England  should  be  drawn  into  an  alliance 
inimical  to  France  and  Spain  had  much  to  do  with  effecting  the 
change  of  policy,  and  subsequent  events  tended  to  support  that 

*  Treaties  and  Conventions  concluded  between  the  United  States  of 
America  and  Other  Powers  since  1776,  p.  1006. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     349 

opinion.*  Such  also  was  the  view  of  Mr.  Martin,  the  historian 
of  Louisiana,  who  surveyed  the  field  from  the  standpoint  of 
New  Orleans.!  Certainly  if  His  Majesty  ever  had  any  thought 
of  carrying  out  the  treaty  in  good  faith,  he  soon  dismissed  it 
from  his  mind. 

President  Washington  appointed  Andrew  Ellicott,t  Sur- 
veyor-General, to  run  the  line  on  the  part  of  the  United  States. 
The  commissioner  left  Philadelphia  September  16, 1796,  and 
reached  Pittsburg  twelve  days  later.  Here  there  was  delay, 
and  it  was  not  until  the  end  of  October  that  he,  his  assistants 

*  American  State  Papers:  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  i,  p.  535. 

t^'Tlie  King's  officers  in  New  Orleans  appeared  impressed  with  the  idea 
that  the  late  treaty  between  Spain  and  the  United  States  would  never  be 
carried  into  effect.  They  thought  that,  at  the  time  it  was  entered  into, 
the  affairs  of  Europe  rendered  the  neutrality  of  the  United  States  of  great 
importance  to  Spain;  and,  according  to  them,  the  object  of  Great  Britain 
in  her  late  [Jay's]  treaty  with  those  States  was  to  draw  them  over  to  her 
interests  and  render  them  in  some  measure  dependent  upon  her.  They 
believed  that  their  sovereign  had  ratified  the  treaty  for  the  purpose  of 
counteracting  the  views  of  Great  Britain,  and  concluded  that,  as  that 
power  had  failed  in  her  object,  Spain  on  her  part  would  be  no  longer  inter- 
ested in  fulfilling  the  stipulations  of  the  treaty." — History  of  Louisiana, 
p.  269. 

t  EUicott  was  one  of  the  foremost  scientific  men  of  his  time  in  the 
country,  the  friend  of  Washington  and  Rittenhouse.  He  was  connected 
with  several  important  public  surveys,  and  laid  out  the  city  of  Washing- 
ton. His  official  dispatches  while  engaged  in  the  Southwest  are  found  in 
the  State  papers:  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  ii.  The  dispatches  of  the  mili- 
tary officers  connected  with  the  survey  are  in  the  same  volume.  The 
present  account  is  drawn  mainly  from  Ellicott's  Journal,  which,  while 
without  literary  merit,  is  still  a  book  of  great  interest.  It  bears  the  fol- 
lowing title : 

The  journal  of  Andrew  Ellicott,  late  commissioner  on  behalf  of  the 
United  States  during  part  of  the  year  1796,  the  years  1797,  1798,  1799,  and 
part  of  the  year  1800,  for  determining  the  boundary  between  the  United 
States  and  the  possessions  of  His  Catholic  Majesty  in  America,  containing 
occasional  remarks  on  the  situation,  soil,  rivers,  natural  productions,  and 
diseases  of  the  different  countries  on  the  Ohio,  Mississippi,  and  Gulf  of 
Mexico,  with  six  maps  comprehending  the  Ohio,  the  Mississippi  from  the 
mouth  of  the  Ohio  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  the  whole  of  West  Florida,  and 
part  of  East  Florida,  To  which  is  added  an  appendix,  containing  all  the 
astronomical  observations  made  use  of  for  determining  the  boundary,  with 
many  others,  made  in  different  parts  of  the  country  for  settling  the  geo- 
graphical positions  of  some  important  points,  with  maps  of  the  boundary 
on  a  large  scale ;  likewise  a  great  number  of  thermometrical  observations 
made  at  different  times  and  places.  Philadelphia :  Printed  by  Budd  & 
Bartram,  for  Thomas  Dobson,  at  the  Stone  House,  No.  41,  South  Second 
street.    1803. 


$ 

350  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

and  escort,  with  tlieir  wagons,  stores,  baggage,  and  instru- 
ments, embarked  on  sucli  craft  as  then  navigated  the  western 
waters,  began  the  descent  of  the  Ohio.  Sucli  were  the  diffi- 
culties of  navigation,  owing  in  great  part  to  the  low  stage  of 
water,  that  he  did  not  reach  the  mouth  of  the  river  until  Decem- 
ber 18,  where  he  was  detained  by  ice  until  January  21.  l^o 
sooner  had  he  entered  upon  the  descent  of  the  Mississippi  than 
he  began  to  encounter  obstacles,  the  full  significance  of  which 
it  took  him  some  time  to  learn. 

The  second  day  after  getting  off  for  the  Natchez,  Ellicott 
fell  in  with  a  Spanish  galley,  the  master  of  which  treated  him 
politely,  but^till  detained  him  at  his  station  until  the  next 
morning.  The  day  following  he  was  received  by  the  comman- 
dant at  New  Madrid  with  a  salvo  of  artillery,  and  was  other- 
wise treated  with  respect  and  attention.  The  Spaniard,  how- 
ever, strove  to  prevent  his  going  on  his  way.  He  first  declared 
that  he  had  a  message  to  deliver,  and  requested  Ellicott  to 
remain  two  or  three  days  with  him;  but  on  receiving  a  decli- 
nation of  the  invitation  he  produced  a  letter  from  the  Governor- 
General  of  New  Orleans,  Baron  de  Oarondelet,  which  contained 
an  order  not  to  allow  the  Americans  to  proceed  until  the  posts 
were  evacuated,  which  could  not  be  effected,  he  said,  while  the 
water  should  continue  low.  After  much  argument  the  officer 
agreed  that  the  rising  of  the  river  had  removed  at  least  one-half 
of  the  objection,  and  said  he  would  not  interpose  further  impedi- 
ments to  the  voyage.  The  American  commissioner  was  much 
impressed  by  the  frivolous  reason  for  not  immediately  evacuat- 
ing the  posts  that  the  governor-generalhad  assigned,  as  the  Mis- 
sissippi below  the  Ohio  was  always  deep  enough  for  such  a  pur- 
pose; and  he  naturally  fell  to  reflecting  that  serious  consequences 
might  arise  if  the  other  commandants  farther  down  the  river,  who 
might  be  less  friendly  toward  the  United  States,  had  received 
similar  orders.  At  the  Chickasaw  Bluffs  the  commandant 
received  Ellicott  courteously,  but  appeared  embarrassed  and 
surprised  at  his  arrival.  Several  circumstances  conspired  to 
strengthen  suspicions  that  had  already  arisen  in  EUicott's  mind. 
The  Spanish  officers  professed  almost  total  ignorance  of  the 
treaty  of  San  Lorenzo.  No  preparations  were  being  made  for 
vacating  the  post,  while  two  armed  galleys  were  brought  into 
position  between  the  American  escort  and  the  Spanish  fort. 
Proceeding  on  his  way  once  more,  the  commissioner  was  a  few 
days  later  detained  by  an  officer  commanding  two  galleys. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.      351 

As  the  Americans  were  pulling  up  to  the  shore  at  Walnut 
Hills,  they  were  brought  to  by  the  discharge  of  a  cannon 
across  the  bows  of  their  boats.  The  officer  in  command  treated 
Ellicott  and  his  company  with  consideration,  but  affected  not 
to  be  acquainted  with  the  nature  of  his  business,  and  refused 
to  be  satisfied  until  a  certified  Spanish  copy  of  the  treaty  was 
put  into  his  hands.  The  American  commissioner  observed  that 
the  Spaniards  had  constructed  considerable  works  of  defense. 
On  the  226.  of  February  Ellicott  received  a  communication  in 
writing  from  Manual  Gayoso  de  Laemos,  Governor  of  Natchez, 
who  expressed  much  pleasure  at  his  arrival  in  those  waters, 
and  stated  that  he  did  not  anticipate  the  least  difficulty 
respecting  the  execution  of  that  part  of  the  treaty  which  related 
to  the  boundary  line,  but  declared  that  the  king's  officers  were 
not  prepared  immediately  to  evacuate  the  forts  for  want  of 
vessels,  which  were  soon  expected  to  arrive.  He  stated  that 
it  would  be  indispensable  for  Ellicott  to  leave  his  escort  at 
Bayou  Pierre,  in  order  that  suitable  provision  could  be  made 
for  it,  and  that  misunderstandings  and  collisions  of  authority 
might  be  avoided.  While  the  commissioner  regarded  the 
request  an  improper  one,  he  nevertheless  thought  best  to  com- 
ply with  it.  On  February  24  Ellicott  reached  Natchez  and 
announced  his  arrival  to  Governor  Gayoso,  and  received  from 
him  a  formal  reply.  The  governor  sent  a  verbal  message  also 
comj)laining  that  due  ceremony  had  not  been  observed  by  the 
Americans  in  approaching  the  town.  On  the  25th  the  two 
officers  met,  and  on  being  pressed  to  name  a  day  for  the  survey 
to  begin  the  Spaniard  finally  fixed  upon  the  19th  of  March. 
Ellicott  also  duly  announced  his  arrival  and  business  to  the 
governor-general  of  New  Orleans. 

The  reception  that  Commissioner  Ellicott  received  at  the 
hands  of  the  Spaniards  as  he  passed  down  the  river  suggests 
a  passing  reflection.  Although  he  bore  a  commission  from  the 
Government  of  the  United  States,  was  accompanied  by  an 
escort  of  American  troops,  and  was  charged  with  the  perfor- 
mance of  a  duty  created  by  a  solemn  international  agreement, 
he  was  halted  and  questioned  as  though  he  were  a  suspect  in 
a  strange  country.  Moreover,  the  one  bank  of  the  river,  through- 
out the  whole  distance,  Spain  had  acknowledged  to  belong 
exclusively  to  the  United  States,  to  say  nothing  of  her  having 
guaranteed  its  navigation  by  American  citizens  from  its  source 
to  the  sea.    We  may  therefore  draw  upon  our  imagination  for 


352  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

tlie  treatment  that  the  boatmen  of  the  Ohio  and  the  Cumber- 
land who  ventured  upon  the  Missisippi  had  commonly  received, 
unless  they  chanced  to  be  in  the  employment  of  persons  who 
were  in  collusion  with  the  Spanish  authorities,  or  chanced  to 
make  their  trips  in  those  occasional  intervals  when  the  port  of 
New  Orleans  was  practically  open  although  legally  closed. 
We  can  see  also  how  impossible  it  was  that  the  west  bank  of 
the  river  and  the  island  and  city  of  Isew  Orleans  should 
remain  a  permanent  possession  of  Spam. 

There  was  now  repeated  on  the  shore  of  tne  Mississippi,  in 
pettOj  the  whole  story  of  Spanish  intercourse  with  the  United 
States  from  the  day  that  Mr.  Jay  reached  Madrid  in  1779 — its 
delays  and  subterfuges,  its  studied  politeness  and  punctillio. 
We  shall  find  it  instructive  to  run  over  the  princii^al  phases 
of  the  controversy.  The  historical  student  not  unfrequently 
finds  it  an  advantage  to  imitate  the  naturalist  who  puts  a 
minute  section  of  a  large  organism  on  the  slide  of  his  micro- 
scope. 

And  first  Ellicott  was  asked  by  Governor  Gayoso  to  take 
down  the  American  flag  that  he  had  raised  over  his  camp. 
This  request  met  with  a  flat  refusal,  and  the  flag  wore  out  flut- 
tering upon  its  staff.  The  commissioner  soon  learned  from 
private  sources  that  Garondelet  had  declared  that  the  treaty 
of  San  Lorenzo  was  never  intended  to  be  carried  into  effect, 
that  he,  as  i^riucipal  commissioner  under  the  Spanish  crown, 
should  evade  or  delay  from  one  pretense  or  another  the  begin- 
ning of  the  survey,  and  that  Louisiana  either  had  been  or 
would  soon  be  ceded  to  France.  Still  the  governor  of  Natchez 
did  not  hesitate  to  inform  him  that  had  he  arrived  sooner  he 
would  have  found  the  governor-general  ready  to  proceed,  but 
that  duties  growing  out  of  the  war  detained  him  at  the  capital 
of  the  province. 

The  Indians  becoming  troublesome,  Ellicott  deemed  it  best 
to  send  to  Bayou  Pierre  for  his  escort.  Gayoso  explained  the 
conduct  of  the  Indians  by  saying  that  the  flag  had  disturbed 
them,  and  declared  that  he  would  construe  the  descent  of  the 
troops  as  an  insult  to  his  royal  master.  Nevertheless,  he 
finally  consented  that  the  escort  might  go  into  camp  at  Bacon^s 
Landing,  a  few  miles  below  the  town.  The  governor  also 
informed  the  commissioner  that  the  business  of  the  survey  in 
the  absence  of  the  baron  would  devolve  upon  him.  He  gave 
notice  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  proceed  at  the  time  pre- 
viously named,  but  promised  readiness  at  an  early  day. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES HINSDALE.     353 

About  the  time  that  the  escort  arrived  from  the  north  the 
artillery  was  conveyed  from  tLe  fort  to  the  landing,  as  if  for 
shipment,  but  was  soon  c^ried  back  and  remounted.  This 
gave  great  alarm  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  district,  says  EUi- 
cott,  who  generally  manifested  a  desire  of  being  declared  citi- 
zens of  the  United  States,  and  at  once  to  renounce  the  juris- 
diction of  Spain.  As  the  inhabitants  play  an  increasing  part 
in  the  story  from  this  on,  it  will  be  well  to  say  a  few  words 
about  them. 

The  circumstances  attending  the  planting  of  the  English 
settlements  in  West  Florida  have  been  narrated  already.  As 
we  have  seen,  throughout  the  Eevolution  the  people  sympa- 
thized with  the  royal  cause  while  maintaining  a  general  neu- 
trality. The  war  over,  the  lower  Mississippi  became  a  favorite 
resort  for  adventurers  and  refugees.  The  result  was  that  the 
Natchez  population  was  of  a  very  miscellaneous  character. 
Cultivation,  wealth,  and  civil  obedience  were  crowded  by 
ignorance,  poverty,  and  lawlessness.  While  a  majority  of 
the  people  were  anxious  to  become  citizens  of  the  United 
States,  there  was  still  a  Spanish  party  and  a  British  party,  as 
well  as  a  class  prepared  to  make  the  most  out  of  disorder  and 
confusion.  The  total  population  numbered  about  4,000.  To 
make  matters  worse,  there  were  many  controversies  about 
land  titles,  and  no  little  uneasiness  lest  slavery  should  be  pro- 
hibited in  the  Southwest,  as  it  already  had  been  in  the  North- 
west. For  the  time  the  Spanish  authority  was  established. 
Plainly  there  were  plenty  of  causes  to  engender  excitement 
pending  the  settlement  of  the  jurisdictional  question. 

About  the  time  that  the  cannon  were  remounted  in  the  fort 
at  Natchez  the  works  at  Walnut  Hills  were  strengthened  and 
the  garrison  furnished  with  fresh  ammunition.  When  the 
American  commissioner  asked  for  an  explanation  of  these 
things,  he  received  a  profusion  of  explanations  and  denials. 
While  protesting  that  nothing  could  prevent  the  religious 
fulfillment  of  the  treaty,  Gayoso  complained  of  the  conduct  of 
some  persons  who  affected  an  interest  in  the  United  States, 
and  said  the  munitions  of  war  were  stored  in  the  fort  to  pre- 
vent their  falling  into  the  hands  of  the  Indians. 

The  governor  now  took  a  further  step  in  the  line  of  obstruc- 
tion, undertaking  to  stop  Lieut.  Pope  who,  with  a  small  body 
of  troops,  was  descending  the  river  to  take  possession  of  the 
forts  on  their  evacuation.  He  declared  that  as  soon  as  CoL 
S.  Mis.  104 23 


f 

354  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Guillemard,  the  surveyor  in  the  Spanish  interest,  should  arrive 
from  New  Orleans  he  would  be  ready  to  begin  the  survey ;  but 
that  it  would  conduce  to  the  harmony  of  the  two  nations  for 
Pope  to  remain  at  a  distance  until  the  fort  was  evacuated, 
which,  he  said,  would  be  completed  in  a  few  days.  Instead  of 
seconding  Gayoso's  efforts  for  harmony,  EUicott  wrote  to 
Pope  that,  in  his  opinion,  the  sooner  he  reached  Natchez  the 
better.    It  was  now  March  25. 

On  the  29th  of  the  same  month  the  governor  issued  a  vaguely 
worded  proclamation,  ostensibly  with  the  view  of  quieting  the 
minds  of  the  inhabitants.  He  promised  protection  to  real 
property  and  indulgence  to  debtors  so  long  as  His  Catholic 
Majesty's  rule  should  continue.  The  rights  of  conscience 
would  be  respected,  but  only  Catholic  worship  could  be  per- 
mitted in  public,  as  was  the  law  throughout  the  Spanish 
dominions.  Ellicott  saw  that  the  proclamation  was  a  covert 
attempt  to  attach  to  the  Spanish  authority  two  powerful 
classes,  the  holders  of  real  estate  and  debtors.  The  proclama- 
tion tending  still  further  to  irritate  the  people  rather  than  to 
conciliate  them,  the  governor  caused  a  report  to  be  circulated 
that  the  district  would  soon  be  given  up ;  while  the  commis- 
sioner thought  the  time  a  fitting  one  to  tell  his  excellency  that 
immediate  compliance  with  the  treaty  would  at  once  allay  the 
existing  excitement. 

On  March  31  Governor  Gayoso  informed  Ellicott  that  Baron 
de  Carondelet  had  found  it  necessary  to  consult  the  King  on 
a  question  that  had  arisen.  This  was  whether  the  posts  should 
be  delivered  to  the  United  States  with  the  fortifications 
and  buildings  intact,  as  Gen.  Wayne  understood,  or  whether 
they  should  first  be  dismantled.  He  reported  further  that  the 
baron  had  given  positive  orders  to  suspend  the  evacuation  of 
the  forts  until  this  question  was  settled.  Pending  its  settle- 
ment, Lieut.  Pope  and  his  command  would  be  provided  for  at 
Walnut  HiUs.  Thus,  after  a  month  or  more  of  delays,  the 
governor-general  finally  announced  that,  for  the  present,  noth- 
ing would  be  done  in  respect  either  to  the  forts  or  the  delimit- 
ation. Before  this  time,  however,  the  American  commissioner 
had  refused  the  services  of  one  hundred  volunteers  who  asked 
permission  to  seize  the  fort  at  Natchez,  and  also  declined  a 
proposition  to  spirit  the  governor  away  into  the  Chickasaw 
Nation. 

In  consequence  of  the  new  turn  of  affairs,  the  officer  com- 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE       355 

mandiiig  thought  best  to  strengthen  the  escort  by  enlisting  a 
number  of  recruits,  taking  pains  to  exclude  Spanish  subjects, 
which  called  forth  a  warm  remonstrance  from  Gayoso.  EUi 
cott  sent  word  to  Lieut.  Pope  that  nine- tenths  of  the  people 
were  firmly  attached  to  the  American  interest,  but  that  until 
his  arrival  they  had  no  rallying  point  in  case  of  a  rupture 
between  the  two  powers,  which  he  thought  could  not  be  dis- 
tant. He  therefore  expressed  the  opinion  that  the  lieutenant 
could  be  of  more  service  to  the  United  States  at  Natchez  than 
at  any  other  point  on  the  river,  and  in  consequence  of  this 
message  Pope  resumed  his  voyage,  Gayoso  consenting,  and 
reached  his  destination  April  24.* 

On  May  1  Governor  Gayoso  made  known  to  Commissioner 
Ellicott  a  new  reason  for  delay.  His  Catholic  Majesty  had 
been  informed  by  his  minister  at  Philadelphia  that  a  British 
force  from  Canada  was  about  to  attack  Upper  Louisiana,  as 
the  Missouri  region  was  called ;  that  such  an  attack  could  be 
made  only  by  violating  the  territory  of  the  United  States, 
which  he  did  not  doubt  they  would  cause  to  be  respected ;  and 
that  the  governor-general  found  it  necessary  to  put  in  a  state 
of  defense  several  forts  on  the  river,  and  particularly  Walnut 
Hills,  as  a  cover  for  Lower  Louisiana,  which,  however,  would 
inure  to  the  benefit  of  the  United  States,  since  the  forts  would 
in  the  end  fall  to  them. 

Col.  Guillemard  arrived  on  May  2,  and  Ellicott  was  informed 
that  the  governor  would  be  ready  to  begin  the  survey  in  a  few 
days.  Soon  repairs  upon  the  fort  began  and  the  garrison  was 
strengthened.  Guillemard  went  on  to  Walnut  Hills,  to  which 
post  troops  from  time  to  time  ascended.  Information  was  now 
received  from  the  Chickasaw  and  Choctaw  Nations  that  for 
eight  months  Spanish  agents  had  been  seeking  to  turn  them 

*  '*  Lieut.  Pope's  descending  the  river  was  certainly  a  fortunate  circum- 
stance for  the  United  States,  though  in  doing  it  he  did  not  strictly  com- 
ply with  his  orders  from  Gen.  Wayne,  by  whom  he  was  instructed  to 
remain  at  Fort  Massac  till  he  obtained  some  information  respecting  the 
evacuation  of  the  posts.  And  if  a  judgment  was  to  be  formed  from  the 
provision  made  for  the  detachment,  it  could  not  be  supposed  that  it  was 
really  intended  to  descend  the  river.  It  was  in  want  of  artillery,  tents, 
money,  medicines,  and  a  physician.  In  consequence  of  this  omission,  or 
bad  management,  I  had  to  furnish  the  men  with  such  articles  as  they  were 
in  need  of  out  of  the  stores  appropriated  for  carrying  the  treaty  into  effect ; 
and  after  all  that  I  was  able  to  do  we  had  (to  our  great  mortification)  to 
borrow  some  tents  from  the  governor." — Ellicott's  Journal,  p.  80. 


356  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

against  the  United  States,  telling  them  that  immediately  on 
the  completion  of  the  survey  they  would  be  driven  from  their 
lands  on  the  north  side  of  the  line.  On  May  11  Governor 
Gayoso  informed  the  commissioner  that  for  the  present  the 
business  upon  which  he  had  come  was  at  an  end,  and  the  com- 
missioner retorted  by  summing  up  the  history  of  his  intercourse 
with  the  Spaniards  to  date. 

Popular  unrest  continued  all  the  time  to  increase,  and  Car- 
ondelet  in  private  threatened  to  suppress  it  by  giving  the 
Americans  lead  and  the  inhabitants  hemp.  Plans  for  dispos- 
sessing the  Spaniards  were  laid  before  Ellicott,  but  only  to  be 
rejected.  On  May  24  the  governor- general  issued  a  proclama- 
tion reciting  that  the  suspension  of  the  survey  and  the  evacu- 
ation of  the  forts  was  occasioned  by  the  imperious  necessity  of 
protecting  Lower  Louisiana  against  the  British  invasion  from 
Canada^  on  account  of  which  he  had  thought  it  proper  to  put 
the  post  at  Walnut  Hills  in  a  respectable  but  provisional  state 
of  defense.  Pending  the  delay,  he  hoped  that  the- inhabitants 
of  Katchez  would  conduct  themselves  with  tranquility  and 
show  due  affection  to  the  Spanish  Government.  The  effect 
produced  was  quite  the  opposite  from  what  he  had  expected  j 
the  proclamation  served  to  convince  the  inhabitants  that  His 
Catholic  Majesty  intended,  if  possible,  to  retain  the  country 
under  one  pretense  or  another  till  the  treaty  should  become  a 
dead  letter.  His  references  to  England  were  i^eculiarly  dis- 
pleasing to  those  who  still  entertained  an  affection  for  that 
country.  The  state  of  opinion  had  now  become  very  inflam- 
mable. 

The  commissioner  had  already  entered  into  correspondence 
with  the  Indians,  with  a  view  to  securing  their  neutrality  in 
the  case  of  a  rupture.  "  The  success  of  these  negotiations  was 
so  complete,"  says  he,  «^  that  in  less  than  three  months  they 
were  almost  wholly  detached  from  the  Spanish  interest,  and 
although  the  United  States  had  no  treaty  with  the  Ohoctaws, 
throughout  a  large  extent  of  country  we  had  to  pass  they  gave 
us  no  molestation  in  the  execution  of  our  business."  Finally 
the  explosion  that  for  some  months  had  been  slowly  preparing 
came  in  a  way  strange  enough.  About  the  beginning  of  June 
an  itinerant  Baptist  minister  named  Hanna,  with  the  permis- 
sion of  the  government,  preached  a  sermon  in  EUicott's  camp 
to  a  large  congregation  called  together  by  the  novelty  of  the 
event.    While  the  preacher  abstained  from  imprudent  remarks 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     357 

in  his  sermon,  he  was  much  elated  by  the  size  of  his  audience, 
and  soon  after,  while  in  liquor,  became  involved  in  a  noisy- 
controversy  with  some  Irish  Catholics.  The  governor  promptly 
ordered  him  to  be  committed  to  prison  and  his  feet  to  be  put  in 
the  stocks,  which  greatly  excited  the  people,  who  saw  in  it  a 
disposition  to  attack  the  privileges  of  American  citizens.  An 
address  issued  by  Carondelet  appearing  about  the  same  time 
added  fuel  to  the  flames.  The  governor-general  declared 
he  had  information  that  a  detachment  of  the  Army  of  the 
United  States,  cantoned  on  the  Ohio,  was  on  its  way  to  Natchez 
by  way  of  the  Holston  Eiver,  while  the  militia  of  Cumberland 
had  been  directed  to  hold  themselves  in  readiness  to  march  at 
the  first  notice.  He  said  the  anterior  menaces  of  EUicott  and 
Pope  at  Katchez,  and  the  pending  rupture  of  the  United  States 
and  France,  the  intimate  ally  of  Spain,  also  made  it  necessary 
for  the  King's  subjects  on  the  Mississippi  to  be  upon  their 
guai'd.  This  remarkable  paper  concluded :  "  If  the  Congress 
of  the  United  States  have  no  hostile  intentions  against  these 
provinces,  they  will  either  leave  the  post  of  Natchez  or  the 
Walnut  Hills,  the  only  bulwarks  of  Lower  Louisiana,  to  stop 
the  course  of  the  British,  or  give  us  security  against  the  article 
of  the  treaty  with  Great  Britain  which  exposes  Lower  Lou- 
isiana to  be  pillaged  and  destroyed  down  to  the  capital  j  we 
will  then  deliver  up  the  said  posts  and  lay  down  our  arms, 
which  they  have  forced  us  to  take  up,  by  arming  their  militia 
in  time  of  peace  and  sending  a  considerable  body  of  troops  by 
roundabout  ways  to  surprise  us."  * 

On  June  10  Governor  Gayoso  wrote  to  Ellicott  that  the 
inhabitants  of  the  district,  subjects  of  His  Majesty,  were  in  a 
state  of  rebellion  with  the  design  of  attacking  the  fort,  and  he 
denounced  the  efforts  then  in  course  of  execution  to  revolution- 
ize the  government.  On  the  same  day  Elhcott  reviewed  the 
situation,  declaring  that  he  was  no  party  to  any  attemj^t  upon 
the  fort,  and  solemnly  protesting  in  his  official  capacity  against 
the  Spanish  officers  landing  any  troops  or  repairing  any  forti- 
fications in  territory  belonging  to  the  United  States. 

Meanwhile  the  people  were  enrolling  militia  companies,  and 
the  governor  was  striving  to  his  utmost  to  strengthen  his 
position.  For  a  number  of  weeks  a  Spanish  cannon  mounted 
on  the  parapet  was  trained  upon  EUicott's  tent.    On  June  22, 

*'EUicott'8  Journal,  p.  103. 


358  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

at  a  public  meetiug  held  for  tlie  purpose,  a  committee  of  seven 
citizens  was  elected  to  direct  affairs  pending  tlie  adjustment 
of  the  jurisdictional  question.  Four  articles,  duly  subscribed 
by  the  American  and  Spanish  officers,  were  to  guide  in  a 
general  way  the  operations  of  this  provisional  government. 
These  articles  may  be  quoted  in  full : 

First.  The  inhabitants  of  the  district  of  Natchez,  who  under  the  belief 
and  jiersuasion  that  they  were  citizens  of  the  United  States,  agreeably 
to  the  late  treaty,  have  assembled  and  embodied  themselves,  are  not  to  be 
prosecuted  or  injured  for  their  conduct  on  that  account  but  to  stand 
exonerated  and  acquitted. 

Second.  The  inhabitants  of  the  government  aforesaid,  above  the  thirty- 
first  degree  of  north  latitude,  are  not  to  be  embodied  as  militia  or  called 
upon  to  aid  in  any  military  operation,  except  in  case  of  an  Indian  inva- 
sion or  for  the  suppression  of  riots  during  the  present  state  of  uncertainty, 
owing  to  the  late  treaty  between  His  Catholic  Majesty  and  the  United 
States  not  being  fully  carried  into  effect. 

Third.  The  laws  of  Spain  in  the  above  district  shall  be  continued,  and 
on  all  occasions  be  executed  vrith  mildness  and  moderation ;  nor  shall  any 
inhabitant  be  transported  as  a  prisoner  oat  of  this  Government  on  any 
pretext  whatever,  and  notwithstanding  the  operation  of  the  law  aforesaid 
is  hereby  admitted,  yet  the  inhabitants  shall  be  considered  to  be  in  an 
actual  state  of  neutrality  during  the  continuance  of  their  uncertainty, 
as  mentioned  in  the  second  proposition. 

Fourth.  We,  the  committee  aforesaid,  do  engage  to  recommend  it  to  our 
constituents,  and  to  the  utmost  of  our  power  endeavor  to  preserve  the 
peace  and  promote  the  due  execution  of  justice.* 

A  few  days  later  a  second  committee  was  elected  in  the  room 
of  the  first  one.  "The  election  of  this  committee,"  says  the 
commissioner,  "as  was  really  intended  on  my  part,  put  the 
finishing  stroke  to  the  Spanish  authority  and  jurisdiction  in 
the  district." 

We  must  now  shift  our  point  of  observation  from  Katchez  to 
Philadelphia,  where  statesmen  are  dealing  with  the  broader 
features  of  the  Southwestern  Question. 

At  the  beginning  of  March,  1797,  Carlos  Martinez  de  Yrujo, 
Spanish  minister,  informed  Secretary  of  State  Pickering  that 
he  had  become  confirmed  in  an  opinion  expressed  to  him  at  an 
earlier  date,  that  the  English  in  Canada  were  prei^aring  a 
coup  de  main  against  St.  Louis  and  Kew  Madrid,  by  the  way 
of  the  northwestern  lakes  and  rivers,  and  he  demanded  that 
immediate  means  should  be  taken  to  prevent  the  violation  of 
American  neutrality.     A  few  weeks  later  he  reiterated  his 

"Ellicott's  Journal,  pp.  115,  116. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINbDALE.     359 

apprehensions  as  to  tlie  Korthwest,  adding  tliat  lie  also  had 
reason  to  know  that  an  invasion  of  Florida  was  meditated  in 
Georgia.  The  Secretary  replied  that  the  President  had  no 
information  in  his  possession  showing  that  such  movements 
were  intended,  and  promising  that  due  diligence  should  be 
taken  to  guard  against  them.  Mr.  Liston,  the  British  minister, 
when  Pickering  drew  his  attention  to  the  subject,  denied 
pointedly  that  an  invasion  from  Canada  was  intended  or 
had  been  intended.  In  a  later  communication,  however,  he 
admitted  that  a  scheme  for  an  attack  upon  the  Spanish  pos- 
sessions adjacent  to  the  United  States  had  been  laid  before 
him  by  persons  whom  he  declined  to  name,  but  said  he  had 
fully  discountenanced  the  scheme  both  because  it  involved  the 
violation  of  neutrality  and  because  it  was  proposed  to  enlist 
the  Indians  in  its  execution.  The  general  plan  was  an  attack 
by  a  sea  force,  seconded  by  volunteers  from  the  United  States 
who  would  rally  to  the  King's  standard  if  it  were  raised  on 
Spanish  soil.  He  expressed  a  suspicion  that  the  scheme  was 
a  mere  ruse  concerted  by  persons  unfriendly  to  England.* 
These  rumors  related  no  doubt  to  the  scheme  with  which  the 
name  of  Senator  Blount,  of  Tennessee,  is  connected,  or  at 
least  a  similar  one.  It  may  be  added  that  exhaustive  treat- 
ment of  the  present  subject  would  require  an  examination  of 
Blount's  purposes,  as  well  as  of  the  Spanish  intrigues  in  the 
West  and  Southwest,  and  of  the  plans  and  efibrts  of  Citizen 
Genet. 

On  March  16  Mr.  Pickering  demanded  of  Don  Yrujo  when 
the  Spanish  troops  would  be  withdrawn  from  the  territory  of 
the  United  States,  and  received  from  him  the  reply  that  he  had 
no  information  on  that  subject.  Nor  did  the  minister  return 
to  it  until  he  had  first  brought  forward  a  closely  related  ques- 
tion. 

On  November  19,  1794,  Mr.  Jay  had  concluded  with  Lord 
Grenville  the  celebrated  treaty  known  in  our  history  by  Jay's 
name.  The  ratifications  were  exchanged  October  28, 1795,  and 
the  treaty  was  proclaimed  February  29  of  the  following  year. 
This  treaty  gave  His  Catholic  Majesty  deep  offense,  partly 
because  he  regretted  that  the  two  powers  should  be  able  to 
compose  their  differences,  and  partly  because  he  deemed  some 
features  of  the  treaty  prejudicial  to  his  rights  and  to  the  inter- 

*The  state  Papers :  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  ii,  pp.  68,  69. 


360  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

ests  of  his  subjects.  On  tlie  6th  of  May  the  King's  representa- 
tives at  Philadelphia  preferred  the  royal  complaints  in  a  letter 
to  Mr.  Pickering  more  vigorous  than  courteous.  Passing  by 
the  other  topics  discussed,  we  may  limit  attention  to  the  Mis- 
sissippi navigation,  first  observing  that  not  a  word  was  said 
about  the  boundary  or  the  forts.  The  third  article  of  Jay's 
treaty  declared  that  the  Mississippi  should  be  entirely  open  to 
both  the  United  States  and  Great  Britain,  as  stipulated  in 
1783;  and  an  explanatory  article  subsequently  negotiated  de- 
clared that  no  stipulations  in  any  treaty  subsequently  con- 
cluded by  either  of  the  contracting  parties  with  any  other  state 
or  nation  should  be  understood  to  derogate  in  any  way  from 
the  rights  of  free  intercourse  and  commerce  secured  to  such 
parties  by  the  said  third  article.*  The  Spanish  minister  denied 
in  toto  the  right  of  the  United  States  to  give  any  such  guar- 
antees to  England  or  any  other  power.  He  argued  that  Eng- 
land received  from  France  in  1763  her  sole  original  right  to 
navigate  the  lower  parts  of  the  river;  that  she  ceded  the  Flor- 
idas  to  Spain  in  1783  without  making  any  reservation  of  this 
right  in  her  own  interest  or  in  the  interest  of  the  United  States; 
that  the  United  States,  having  become  an  independent  power, 
had  forfeited  any  right  that  might  have  belonged  to  them  in 
consequence  of  the  French  cession ;  that  the  cession  of  navi- 
gation made  by  England  to  the  United  States  in  1783  was 
illegal  and  worthless ;  that  the  right  which  the  United  States 
now  enjoyed  was  derived  wholly  and  absolutely  from  Spain  by 
the  treaty  of  San  Lorenzo,  and  consequently  that  the  guarantee 
given  by  Jay's  treaty  was  wholly  without  warrant,  null,  and 
void.t  He  said  the  fact  that  the  United  States  had  resorted 
to  Spain  for  a  special  treaty  conceding  the  navigation,  and  the 
tenor  of  the  cession  which  limited  such  navigation  exclusively 
to  the  subjects  of  Spain  and  the  citizens  of  the  United  States, 
was  a  virtual  annulment  by  the  latter  of  the  earlier  English 
cession,  even  if  that  had  any  original  force.  ^'  How  can  the 
United  States,  without  the  consent  of  Spain,"  he  demanded, 
"cede  to  England  the  right  of  navigating  the  Mississippi, 
which  is  ceded  only  to  themselves?" 

*  Treaties  and  Conventions,  pp.  379,  395. 

t  It  must  be  remembered  that  Spain  had  concluded  a  treaty  of  peace  with 
France  and  had  declared  war  against  Great  Britain.  Martin  says :  "The 
Catholic  King,  in  the  declaration  of  war,  mentions  the  late  treaty  between 
Great  Britain  and  the  United  States  as  one  of  the  motives  that  had  influ- 
enced his  conduct  in  this  respect."    History  of  Louisiana,  j).  270. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     361 

In  his  reply  the  Secretary  of  State  said  the  United  States 
could  give  no  such  guarantee,  provided  the  case  were  as  the 
minister  had  stated  it.  But  this  he  did  not  admit.  England 
had  received  the  right  of  navigation  in  1763,  and  had  never 
relinquished  it;  the  people  of  the  IJnited  States  participated 
in  that  right  as  subjects  of  Great  Britain ;  and  on  the  acknowl- 
edgment of  their  independence  that  power  had  confirmed  it  to 
them  by  the  provisional  and  definitive  treaties.  The  cession 
of  West  Florida  by  England  was  of  even  date  with  the  defin. 
itive  treaty.  It  had  been  supposed  that  the  upper  Mississippi 
penetrated  the  territory  of  Great  Britain,  and  no  one  could 
certainly  say  that  this  was  not  the  case.  Jay's  treaty  had 
[merely  confirmed  the  status  that  had  existed  since  1783;  had 
that  treaty  been  wholly  silent  upon  the  subject  that  status 
would  have  been  in  no  way  changed;  but  since  the  fourth 
article  of  the  treaty  of  San  Lorenzo,  entered  into  subsequently, 
had  excited  some  apprehensions  in  England  the  explanatory 
article  had  been  added  in  order  to  quiet  them.  Mr.  Pickering 
proceeded  to  show  that  the  fourth  article  of  the  Spanish  treaty 
was  purposely  so  drawn  as  not  to  derogate  from  the  prior 
obligations  of  the  United  States  to  Great  Britain,  with  the  full 
knowledge  and  approval  of  the  Prince  of  Peace.  The  lan- 
guage is:  "  His  Catholic  Majesty  has  likewise  agreed  that  the 
navigation  of  the  said  river,  in  its  whole  breadth  from  its 
source  to  the  ocean,  shall  be  free  only  to  his  subjects  and  the 
citizens  of  the  United  States,  unless  he  should  extend  this 
privilege  to  the  subjects  of  other  powers  by  special  conven^ 
tion."  This  could  in  no  way  effect  an  engagement  previously 
entered  into  between  the  United  States  and  England.  The 
United  States  were  contending  with  Spain  for  free  navigation 
of  the  Mississippi  for  themselves ;  and  by  this  clause  in  the 
fourth  article  of  the  treaty  their  claim  was  admitted.  Any 
declaration  of  His  Catholic  Majesty  alone  to  exclude  other  na- 
tions was  to  them  quite  immaterial.* 

Such  are  the  main  points  in  this  spirited  discussion.  It  was 
well  understood  to  be  inspired  on  the  side  of  Spain  by  the 
French  Directory.  It  is  a  good  illustration  of  the  makeshifts 
to  which  diplomacy  has  been  sometimes  compelled  to  resort. 

On  June  24  Don  Trujo  took  up  the  boundary  and  forts.    He 

*  The  two  letters  are  found  in  the  American  State  Papers :  Foreign 
Relations,  ii,  14-17. 


362  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

said  the  proper  mode  of  procedure  would  have  been,  first  to 
survey  the  line  in  order  to  determine  what  territory  fell  to 
Spain  and  what  to  the  United  States ;  but  that  Commissioner 
EUicott,  disregarding  this  obvious  principle,  had  raised  the 
American  flag  at  Natchez,  recruited  the  strength  of  his  escort, 
and  exercised  an  unlawful  authority.  Next  the  question 
whether  the  fortifications  should  be  dismantled  had  arisen  and 
had  been  referred  to  Madrid.  Ellicott  had  gone  on  adding 
imprudence  to  imprudence,  until  the  relations  between  him  and 
Governor  Gayoso  were  severely  strained,  on  which  account  he 
asked  that  Ellicott  might  be  confined  to  the  scientific  work  of 
the  survey  and  some  one  else  sent  to  Natchez  to  act  as  the 
principal  agent  of  the  Government. 

And  so  the  controversy,  which  all  the  time  tended  to  greater 
acrimony,  dragged  its  slow  length  along.  It  is  quite  unneces- 
sary for  us  to  follow  the  correspondence  which,  in  its  later 
parts,  presents  few  new  points  of  interest.  Assurances  that  the 
Spanish  officers  were  at  liberty  to  follow  their  own  discretion 
in  regard  to  dismantling  the  forts  j  that  the  legal  landowners 
of  the  Natchez  would  not  be  molested ;  and  that  the  neutrality 
of  the  national  territory  would  be  defended,  were  renewed.  In 
the  course  of  a  long  final  report  to  the  President,  the  Secretary 
of  State  summed  up  the  various  reasons  that  the  Spanish  officers 
had  from  time  to  time  assigned  for  their  delay  in  carrying  out 
the  treaty.  In  March  they  were  not  instructed  in  regard  to 
the  forts;  neither  could  they  withdraw  from  the  district  until 
real  property  was  made  secure  and  the  temper  of  the  Indians 
was  ascertained  to  be  pacific.  On  May  24  they  were  awaiting 
developments  in  relation  to  the  threatened  invasion  from 
Canada.  On  May  31,  along  with  other  reasons,  attention  was 
drawn  to  the  hostile  intentions  of  the  United  States,  as  shown 
by  the  reports  in  relation  to  the  Holston  and  the  Cumberland. 
Mr.  Pickering  observed  that  the  true  reason  was  stated  by 
Governor  Carondelet  in  his  proclamation  of  the  last  date,  the 
expectation  of  an  immediate  rupture  between  France,  the  inti- 
mate ally  of  Spain,  and  the  United  States.  And  this  opinion 
was  no  doubt  correct.* 


*Tlie  original  documents  from  which  the  above  account  is  drawn  are 
found  in  the  State  Papers :  Foreign  Relations,  Vol.  ii.  The  various  phases 
of  the  controversy  with  Spain  furnished  rich  material  for  party  warfare. 
See  MacMaster :  History  of  the  People  of  the  United  States,  Vol.  i,  pp. 
371-375;  Vol.  ii,  pp.  287,  350-352. 


JSOUTHEEN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     363 

We  must  now  return  to  the  lower  Mississippi.     The  perma- 
nent committee  appointed  in  July  conducted  affairs  with  two 
ends  in  view,  viz,  to  secure  the  jurisdiction  of  the  United 
States  and  to  preserve  the  peace  and  order  of  society.    The 
committee  was  much  disturbed  by  the  intrigues  of  persons 
in  the  Spanish  interest  and  in  the  British  interest,*  but  suc- 
ceeded in  keeping  the  upper  hand  until  a  new  order  of  things 
could  be  set  up.    The  difficulties  of  the  situation  may  be  in- 
ferred in  part  from  EUicott's  description  of  the  population: 
"People  of  ambition  and  enterprise  who  have  calculated  upon 
,the  increase  of  fame  and  fortune,  others  who  have  fled  from 
[their  creditors,  and  some  (not  a  few)  from  justice,  to  which 
Imay  with  propriety  be  added  those  who  fled  from  the  United 
States  during  the  Eevolutionary  War,  for  their  monarchial  prin- 
■ciples  or  treasonable  practices."    In  September  the  commis- 
(sioner  laid  before  the  committee  the  information  that  he  had 
received  from  Philadelphia  concerning  Blount's  schemes,  to 
arrest  which  the  committee  immediately  bestirred  itself. 
In  July  Gayoso  became  governor-general  in  the  room  of 
f  Baron  Carondelet,  who  was  transferred  to  the  Government  of 
Quito.    In  October,  Ellicott  issued  a  i)ublic  address  denying 
that,  as  charged,  he  had  in  his  communications  to  his  Gov- 
ernment recommended  that  the  vacant  lands  in  the  district  be 
sold  in  tracts  6  miles  square;  that  he  favored  the  prohibition 
of  slavery,  as  in  the  Northwest;  and  that  he  was,  or  had  been, 
engaged  in  large  land  speculations,  such  as  buying  up  old 
British  grants.    In  December  a  considerable  detachment  of 
United   States  troops  under  the  command  of  Capt.  Guyon 
arrived  at  Natchez. 

On  January  10,  1798,  the  governor-general  announced  to  the 
commissioner  that  he  had  received  final  orders  to  evacuate 
Natchez  and  Walnut  Hills,  and  that  he  should  immediately 
carry  the  order  into  effect ;  he  also  informed  him  that  he  would 
soon  be  ready  to  make  arrangements  for  running  the  boundary. 

*  It  is  not  difficult  to  find  a  cause  sufficient  to  account  for  the  British 
interest.  The  old  attachment  to  England  had  by  no  means  died  out, 
while  such  a  scheme  as  Blount's  seemed  to  promise  a  restoration  of  the 
British  authority.  One  of  the  most  active  and  influential  men  in  the  dis- 
trict was  Col.  Anthony  Hutchins,  an  officer  under  British  pay,  who  seems 
to  have  had  secret  information  relative  to  Blount's  plans.  Hutchins, 
according  to  Ellicott,  was  as  unscrupulous  and  dangerous  as  he  was  influ- 
ential. 


364  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

Again  there  was  delay.  Although  the  Spaniard  kept  the 
time  of  the  coming  evacuation  as  close  a  secret  as  possible, 
he  did  not  elude  EUicott's  vigilance.  ''•  On  the  29th  of  March, 
late  in  the  evening,"  he  writes,  "  I  was  informed  through  a 
confidential  channel,  that  the  evacuation  would  take  place  next 
morning  before  day;  in  consequence  of  which,  I  rose  the  next 
morning  at  4  o'clock  and  walked  to  the  fort,  and  found  the  last 
party  or  rear  guard  just  leaving  it,  and  as  the  gate  was  left 
open  I  went  in  and  enjoyed  from  the  parapet  the  pleasant 
prospect  of  the  galleys  and  boats  leaving  the  shore  and  getting 
under  way.  They  were  out  of  sight  of  the  town  before  daylight. 
The  same  day  our  troops  took  possession  of  the  works.*  Thus, 
when  the  time  came,  the  Spanish  officers  thought  the  demolition 
of  the  fortifications  of  no  consequence  whatever. 

It  was  now  two  and  a  half  years  since  the  seals  were  set  to 
the  treaty  of  San  Lorenzo,  and  fifteen  years  since  the  inde- 
pendence of  the  United  States  had  been  definitively  acknowl- 
edged. The  old  excuses  had  ceased  to  be  plausible;  the  Gov- 
ernment at  Philadelphia  was  in  no  temper  to  brook  further 
delay;  while  the  people  of  J^atchez,  by  renouncing  the  King 
of  Spain's  authority,  had  hastened  the  final  issue. 

Another  train  of  circumstances  had  no  doubt  produced  some 
effect.  Georgia,  resting  upon  her  early  charters  and  a  com- 
pact with  South  Carolina  entered  into  in  1787,  claimed  the  1 
country  west  of  her  to  the  Mississippi.  In  1785  her  legisla- 
ture established  the  county  of  Bourbon,  bounding  it  south  by 
the  thirty-first  parallel  and  north  by  the  Yazoo,  west  by 
the  Mississippi,  and  east  by  the  lands  that  the  Indians  had 
not  yet  relinquished.  Steps  were  taken  to  organize  a  county 
government,  despite  the  fact  that  the  Spaniards  were  in  full 
possession.  In  1788  the  State  made  a  cession  of  the  Yazoo 
district  to  the  nation,  but  upon  such  conditions  that  Congress 
refused  the  offer.  The  exploitation  of  the  lands  led  to  the 
scandalous  transactions  known  as  the  Yazoo  Frauds.+  Georgia 
sold  the  very  ground  under  the  Spanish  garrisons,  somewhat 
as  Hannibal  put  up  the  city  lots  of  Rome  at  auction.  An 
accredited  agent  arrived  at  Katchez  to  assert  the  Georgia 
claim  just  before  the  conclusion  of  the  treaty  of  San  Lorenzo. 

*  Journal,  p.  167. 

tSee  C.  H.  Haskins :  '•  The  Yazoo  Land  Companies,"  Papers  of  the  Amer- 
ican Historical  Association,  Vol.  v,  p.  395. 


SOUTHERN  BOUNDARY  OF  UNITED  STATES — HINSDALE.     365 

The  steady  pressure  of  the  Georgians  westward  had  perhaps 
served  to  convince  the  Spaniards  that  they  could  not  hold  the 
ground. 

Mr.  Martin  states  still  another  series  of  facts  that  con- 
tributed to  the  grand  result.*  Baron  Oarondelet  early  deter- 
mined to  rest  his  final  decision  in  regard  to  the  delivery  of  the 
forts  upon  the  success  or  failure  of  a  farther  effort  to  detach 
the  Western  country  from  the  Union.  He  sent  an  emissary, 
Thomas  Powers,  to  Tennessee  and  Kentucky  to  confer  with 
the  former  correspondents  of  the  governors  of  Louisiana. 
After  an  eventful  experience  Powers  returned  to  ]S"ew  Orleans 
in  January,  1798,  with  a  disheartening  rei^ortj  the  day  had 
passed  when  the  Spanish  coterie  in  the  Ohio  Yalley  cared 
longer  to  toy  with  the  Spaniard,  and  Gayoso,  to  whom  the 
report  was  made,  dismissed  the  subject. 

On  April  9  Commissioner  Ellicott  left  Natchez  for  the  field 
of  active  operations,  and  we  may  date  the  beginning  of  the 
survey  from  that  time.  What  with  dense  canebrakes  to  be  cut 
through,  swamps,  bayous,  and  rivers  to  be  crossed,  wilder- 
nesses to  be  tracked,  supplies  to  be  brought  from  long  dis- 
tances, Indian  hostilities  caused  by  Spanish  '^crooked  talks" 
to  be  overcome,  instruments  and  baggage  to  be  transported, 
and  occasional  lapses  into  Spanish  procrastination,  the  survey 
proved  very  slow  and  laborious.  Two  full  years  were  spent  in 
establishing  the  line.  On  his  return  to  Philadelphia  Ellicott 
had  been  absent  almost  four  years.  His  history  of  the  survey 
has  slight  interest  save  for  historical  and  scientific  specialists. 
He  tells  us  that  in  1797-'98  a  plan  was  formed  "  to  add  to 
the  Union  the  two  Floridas,  with  the  island  of  New  Orleans, 
provided  the  Spaniards  either  committed  hostilities  against 
the  citizens  of  the  United  States  at  Natchez  or  joined  France 
in  a  contest  against  us.  From  the  secrecy,  talents,  and 
enterprise  of  those  concerned,  added  to  a  temporary  system  of 
finance  and  a  deposit  of  arms,  there  could  not  possibly  be  any 
doubt  of  the  complete  and  almost  instantaneous  success  of  the 
plan  had  it  been  attempted."  t 

Reference  has  been  made  to  the  issue  between  Congress  and 
Georgia  over  the  Yazoo  lands.  Disregarding  the  State's  pro- 
test, but  at  the  same  time  creating  a  commission  to  adjust  and 

*  History  of  Louisiana,  pp.  271-273;  274,  275, 
t  Journal,  p.  175. 


M 


366  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCUTION. 

settle  pending  questions,  Congress  passed  an  act  in  April,  1798, 
creating  tlie  Territory  of  Mississippi,  which  exactly  coincided 
in  extent  with  the  territory  over  which  the  two  powers  had 
waged  a  long  contest,  and  giving  it  a  government  like  that  of 
the  Northwest  Territory.  Winthrop  Sargent,  who  had  been 
the  Secretary  of  that  Territory,  was  appointed  governor,  and  he 
duly  organized  the  government  in  September  of  that  year. 
EUicott  testifies  that,  although  the  shadow  of  the  Spanish 
jurisdiction  that  remained  was  finally  withdrawn  in  January, 
1798,  and  the  inhabitants  were  left  without  law  or  government 
until  September  following,  he  never  heard  of  a  single  outrage 
committed  in  the  Territory,  save  by  a  small  number  of  Span- 
iards.* It  must  be  said  to  the  commissioner's  credit  that,  while 
he  may  sometimes  have  erred  in  discretion  in  discharging  his 
delicate  duties,  he  showed  a  courage,  firmness,  and  devotion 
to  his  country  that  are  worthy  of  all  praise.t 

*  Journal,  p.  167. 

tTlie  Mississippi  historians  treat  Ellicott  with  much  severity.  It 
appears  that  he  had  been  sent  by  the  President  in  1791  to  run  the  line 
between  the  State  of  Georgia  and  the  Creek  Indians,  but  that  the  Creeks 
would  not  allow  the  line  to  be  run.  Claiborne  writes  the  history  of  the 
survey  with  partisan  animus.  See  "  Mississippi  as  a  Province,  Territory, 
and  State,"  Chaps,  xix,  xx. 


XXIV -THE  HISTORIC  POLICY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES  AS  TO 
ANNEXATION. 


By  PROFESSOR  SIMEON  E.  BALDWIN,  LL.D. 

OF  YALE  UNIVERSITY. 


367 


THE  HISTORIC  POLICY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES  AS  TO  ANNEX- 
ATION. 


By  Simeon  E.  Baldwin. 


The  United  States,  according  to  President  Lincoln,  was 
|<<formed  in  fact  by  the  Articles  of  Association  in  1774."  But 
the  self-styled  ^'Continental  Congress,"  which  framed  those 
articles,  represented  and  claimed  to  represent  but  a  small  por- 
tion of  the  American  continent.  The  eleven  colonies,  whose 
[delegates  met  at  Carpenter's  Hall,  October  20, 1774,  and  those 
!  of  the  three  counties  of  Delaware  who  sat  with  them  on  equal 
terms,  though  really  a  part  of  the  proprietary  government  of 
Pennsylvania,  were  in  actual  possession  of  but  a  narrow  strip 
of  territory  on  the  Atlantic  seaboard,  running  back  no  farther 
than  the  line  of  the  AUeghanies.  To  the  southward  lay  Georgia, 
East  Florida,  West  Florida,  and  Louisiana;  to  the  northward 
Nova  Scotia  and  Canada;  and  on  their  western  frontiers  Par- 
hament  had  recently  put  the  boundary  of  the  new  Province  of 
Quebec. 

It  was  the  hope  of  Congress  that  their  ranks  might  be  swelled 
by  the  accession  of  all  the  British  colonies  or  provinces  on  our 
continent.  On  October  26  a  stirring  appeal  to  unite  in  the 
Articles  of  Association,  adopted  two  days  before,  was  addressed 
to  the  inhabitants  of  Quebec.  ' '  We  defy  you,"  wrote  Congress, 
"castingyour  view  upon  every  side,  to  discover  a  single  cir- 
cumstance, promising  from  any  quarter  the  faintest  hope  of 
liberty  to  you  or  your  posterity,  but  from  an  entire  adoption 
into  the  Union  of  these  colonies."  *  *  *  What,  it  was 
urged,  would  your  great  countryman,  Montesquieu,  say  to  you 
were  he  living  to-day?  "Would  not  this  be  the  purport  of  his 
address?  Seize  the  opportunity  presented  to  you  by  Provi- 
dence itself.  You  have  been  conquered  into  liberty,  if  you  act 
as  you  ought.    This  work  is  not  of  man.    You  are  a  small 

369 
S.  Mis.  104 ^24 


# 

370  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

people,  compared  to  those  who  with  open  arms  invite  you  into 
a  fellowship.  A  moment's  reflection  should  convince  you  which 
will  be  most  for  your  interest  and  happiness,  to  have  all  the 
rest  of  !N"orth  America  your  unalterable  friends,  or  your  invet- 
erate enemies.  The  injuries  of  Boston  have  roused  and  asso- 
ciated every  colony  from  ^ova  Scotia  to  Georgia.  Your  prov- 
ince is  the  only  link  wanting  to  complete  the  bright  and  strong 
chain  of  union.  ^  ature  has  joined  your  country  to  theirs.  Do 
you  join  your  political  interests."  *  *  *  u  ^^  ^j.^  ^qq  ^^h 
acquainted  with  the  liberality  of  sentiment  distinguishing  your 
nation  to  imagine  that  difference  of  religion  will  prejudice  you 
against  a  hearty  amity  with  us.  You  know  that  the  trans- 
cendent nature  of  freedom  elevates  those  who  unite  in  her  cause 
above  all  such  low-minded  infirmities."* 

The  address  concluded  with  the  recommendation  that  they 
should  choose  a  Provincial  Congress,  which  might  send  dele- 
gates to  the  next  Continental  Congress  to  be  held  at  Philadel- 
phia in  May,  1775,  and  formerly  accede  to  the  existing  confed- 
eration, so  that,  in  resisting  future  aggressions,  they  might  rely 
no  longer  on  the  small  influence  of  a  single  province,  "  but  on 
the  consolidated  powers  of  North  America." 

The  Annual  Eegister  for  1775,  truly  says  that  *''of  all  the 
papers  published  by  the  American  Congress  their  address  to 
the  French  inhabitants  of  Canada  discovered  the  most  dex- 
trous management  and  the  most  able  method  of  application  to 
the  temper  and  passions  of  the  parties  whom  they  endeavored 
to  gain."t 

A  correspondence  with  Canadian  patriots  was  also  begun  by 
the  Massachusetts  committee  of  safety,  and  Samuel  Adams  was 
particularly  earnest  in  his  efforts  to  gain  their  support. 

In  May,  1775,  another  address  to  the  inhabitants  of  Canada 
was  adopted  by  Congress,  from  the  pen  of  Jay.  It  declared 
that  "the  fate  of  the  Protestant  and  Catholic  colonies  was 
strongly  linked  together,"  and  that  Congress  yet  entertained 
hopes  of  a  union  with  them  in  the  defense  of  their  common 
liberty.l 

During  the  session  of  this  Congress  an  address  from  the 
inhabitants  of  several  parishes  in  Bermuda  was  received,  and 

*  1,  Journals  of  Congress,  64.  }  1,  Journals  of  Congress,  109. 

t  History  of  Europe,  32. 


ANNEXATION  POLICY  OP  UNITED  STATES BALDWIN.   371 

a  Canadian  once  appeared  upon  the  floor.  In  November  the 
inhabitants  of  a  district  in  ^N^ova  Scotia,  which  had  elected  a 
committee  of  safety,  applied  for  admission  into  ^^the  Associa- 
tion of  the  United  Colonies."  * 

The  proceedings  of  this  Congress  have  come  down  to  iis  in 
a  very  unsatisfactory  state,  owing  to  the  fact  that  it  was  not 
deemed  safe  to  print  in  the  official  journals  all  that  was  done. 
After  forty  years  a  large  part  of  what  was  originally  sup- 
pressed was  published  by  the  Government  under  the  style  of 
the  Secret  Journals  of  Congress,  but  no  attempt  was  made  to 
combine  the  two  records  or  to  supply  an  index  to  the  whole. 

In  July,  1775,  Dr.  Franklin  brought  forward  a  plan  which 
had  apparently  been  drawn  up  for  submission  in  May,  for 
"Articles  of  confederation  and  perpetual  union  "  between  "  the 
United  Colonies  of  North  America."  They  provided  for  the 
accession  of  all  the  other  British  colonies  on  the  continent; 
that  is,  Quebec,  St.  John's,  Is  ova  Scotia,  East  and  West  Florida, 
and  the  Bermuda  Islands,  t  Notwithstanding  the  care  taken 
to  suppress  this  proceeding,  a  copy  of  the  paper  got  across  the 
ocean  and  was  printed  in  full  in  the  Annual  Eegister  for  1775.| 

In  the  latter  part  of  this  year  Congress  dispatched  agents  to 
Canada  and  others  to  Nova  Scotia  to  inquire  particularly  into 
the  disposition  of  their  inhabitants  respecting  a  union  of  inter- 
ests with  the  more  southern  colonies.  The  assembly  of  Jamaica 
had  sent  in  a  memorial  to  the  King  in  council  which,  while 
disclaiming  any  thought  of  forcible  resistance,  set  up  the 
claims  of  their  inhabitants  to  self-government  in  language 
nearly  as  strong  as  that  used  by  the  Continental  Congress.§ 
The  latter  body  responded  in  an  address  to  the  assembly  of 
Jamaica  thanking  them  for  their  sympathy,  and  saying  that 
while  "the  peculiar  situation  of  your  island  forbids  your  assist- 
ance," they  were  glad,  at  least,  to  have  their  good  wishes. 

Soon  afterward  three  commissioners  were  appointed  to  repair 
to  the  northern  frontier  and  endeavor  "  to  induce  the  Cana- 
dians to  accede  to  a  union  with  these  Colonies,"  and  to  send 
delegates  to  Congress.  |1    The  commissioners  were  authorized 

*  1,  Journals  of  Congress,  230, 244. 
+ 1,  Secret  journals  of  Congress,  283. 
t  State  papers,  252. 

§  Annual  Register  for  1775 ;  Hist,  of  Europe,  101. 

II  Washington  strongly  urged  this  course  in  his  letters  from  camp .  Writ- 
ings, Sparks'  ed.,  ill,  173. 


372  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION.  ' 

to  pledge  tliein  "the  free  enjoyment  of  their  religion,"*  and  to 
raise,  if  possible,  a  Canadian  regiment  for  the  Continental 
Army. 

A  few  men  did  enlist  and  sucli  accessions  were  received  from 
time  to  time  that  at  last  a  Canadian  regiment  was  organized 
and  officered  and  a  second  one  projected.! 

Early  in  1776  another  set  of  commissioners,  headed  by 
Franklin,  were  dispatched  directly  to  Canada  on  a  similar 
errand,  bearing  addresses  from  Congress  which  were  printed 
in  French  and  English  and  circulated  extensively  among  the 
people.J  The  instructions  of  the  commissioners  were  to  assure 
the  Canadians  that  their  interests  and  ours  were  inseparably 
united  and  to  urge  them  to  join  us  as  a  "  sister  colony." 

No  impression  seemed  to  be  made  by  the  addresses,  and  it 
was  soon  discovered  that  quite  an  adequate  reason  existed  in 
the  fact  that  not  one  out  of  five  hundred  of  the  population 
could  read.  Dr.  Franklin,  on  his  return,  said  that  if  it  were 
ever  thought  best  to  send  another  mission,  it  should  be  one 
composed  of  schoolmasters.  With  a  few  of  the  leaders  there 
Franklin  had  better  success,  and  during  a  fortnight  something 
like  a  provisional  government  was  set  up  under  his  auspices, 
which,  however,  melted  into  thin  air  on  the  approach  of  British 
troops.  § 

In  June,  1776,  Congress  sent  two  ships  to  the  Bermudas, 
with  provisions  to  relieve  the  distress  caused  by  our  non- 
importation association,  and  with  directions  to  inquire  into 
the  disposition  of  the  inhabitants  respecting  a  union  of  interests 
with  ours.  II 

It  is  probable  that  the  report  was  not  encouraging,  for  when 
in  July,  1776,  Franklin's  scheme  for  confederation  was  reported 
on  by  the  committee  which  had  had  it  under  consideration  for 
a  year,  the  provision  for  bringing  in  the  other  English  colonies 
was  struck  out,  except  so  far  as  related  to  Canada.  She  was 
to  have  the  right  to  admission  on  request,  but  no  other  colony 
was  to  be  admitted  without  the  consent  of  nine  States.  ^ 

•  1,  Journals  of  Congress,  242. 

t  Writmgs  of  Washington,  Sparks'  ed.,  iv,  267. 

I I,  Secret  Journals  of  Congress,  42. 
$  1,  Journals  of  Congress,  305. 

II I,  Secret  Journals  of  Congress,  46. 

HI,  Secret  Journals  of  Congress,  290;  Annual  Register  for  1776;  State 
Papers,  p.  269. 


ANNEXATION  POLICY  OF  UNITED   STATES — BALDWIN.      373 

Provision  was  made  by  Congress  as  soon  as  these  articles 
were  agreed  on  and  sent  out  to  the  States  for  ratification 
(i^ovember  29, 1777),  for  having  them  translated  into  French 
and  circulated  among  the  Canadians,  with  an  invitation  "  to 
afecede  to  the  union  of  these  States."  * 

Our  invasions  of  their  territory,  however,  and  their  ill  success, 
had  left  little  of  the  spirit  of  united  resistance  to  British 
authority.  Had  the  Declaration  of  Independence  been  made 
as  early  as  the  more  fiery  patriots  would  have  had  it,  it  is  not 
impossible  that  Canada  and  Kova  Scotia  would  have  been 
swept  into  the  current.  Samuel  Adams  wrote  in  July,  1776, 
to  a  friend,  that  had  it  come  in  1775,  Canada,  in  his  opinion, 
"would  at  this  time  have  been  one  of  the  United  Colonies."t 

In  the  fall  of  1776,  Franklin,  then  about  to  sail  on  his  European 
mission,  submitted  to  the  secret  committee  of  Congress  his 
scheme  for  proposals  of  peace.  These  were  that  Great  Britain 
should  acknowledge  our  independence  and  sell  us  Quebec,  St. 
Johns,  Nova  Scotia,  Bermuda,  East  and  West  Florida,  and  the 
Bahamas.  In  addition  to  payment  of  the  purchase  money,  we 
were  to  grant  free  trade  to  all  British  subjects  and  guarantee 
to  Great  Britain  her  West  India  islands.  In  the  paper  explain- 
ing this  scheme  Franklin  states  that  as  to  the  colonies  to  be 
purchased  "  it  is  absolutely  necessary  for  us  to  have  them  for 
our  own  security."! 

In  letters  to  English  friends  while  in  France  he  expressed 
similar  views,  saying  that  discord  would  continually  arise  on 
the  frontiers  unless  peace  were  cemented  by  the  cession  of  Can- 
ada, Kova  Scotia,  and  the  Floridas.§ 

John  Adams  entertained  opinions  of  the  same  kind.  In 
April,  1782,  while  in  Holland,  he  was  advised  by  Henry  Lau- 
rens, one  of  our  foreign  commissioners  who  had  been  captured 
by  a  British  man-of-war  and  put  in  the  Tower  on  a  charge  of 
treason,  but  was  now  at  large  on  parole,  that  many  of  the 
opposition  in  England  favored  the  surrender  of  Canada  and 
Nova  Scotia.  Mr.  Adams  replied  that  he  feared  that  we  could 
never  have  a  real  i^eace  with  Canada  or  Nova  Scotia  in  the 
hands  of  the  English,  and  that  at  least  we  should  stipulate,  in 

*  2,  Secret  Journals  of  Congress,  54. 
t  Life  of  Samuel  Adams,  ii,  434. 
t  Franklin's  Works,  i,  143. 
$  lUd.,  I,  311. 


374  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

any  treaty  of  peace,  that  they  should  keep  no  troops  or  fortified 
places  on  the  fi-ontiers  of  either.* 

A  few  days  later,  Dr.  Franklin  submitted  to  Mr.  Oswald, 
with  whom,  as  the  commissioner  of  Great  Britain,  the  treaty  of 
peace  was  afterward  negotiated,  a  paper  suggesting  the  dangers 
of  maintaining  a  long  frontier  between  countries,  the  roughest 
of  whose  people  would  always  inhabit  their  borders  and  out- 
posts, and  that  Great  Britain  might  well  cede  Canada  to  us 
on  condition  of  a  perpetual  guaranty  of  free  trade  with  that 
province  and  a  provision  for  indemnity  for  the  losses  both  of 
Canadian  loyalists  and  of  Americans  whose  property  had  been 
burned  in  British  invasions,  out  of  the  proceeds  of  sales  of 
the  public  lands  remaining  ungranted.t 

The  influence  of  France  was  from  the  first  thrown  against  the 
enlargement  of  the  United  States  by  the  accession  of  any  more 
of  the  British  colonies.  As  most  of  these  had  once  been  hers, 
she  doubtless  hoped  that  they  might  some  day  become  again 
part  of  their  mother  country.  Our  treaty  with  her,  of  1778, 
stipulated  that  should  she  capture  any  of  the  British  West 
India  islands,  it  should  be  for  her  own  benefit,  while  if  we 
should  occupy  the  northern  colonies  or  the  Bermudas,  they 
should  "be  confederate  with  or  dependent  upon  the  said 
United  States.'^ 

The  adoption  of  the  present  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  in  abrogating  by  the  voice  of  the  majority  the  Articles 
of  Confederation,  was  a  revolutionary  proceeding  which  threw 
two  States  out  of  the  Union.  North  Carolina  and  Ehode 
Island,  by  refusing  to  ratify  the  work  of  the  convention  of 
1787,  put  themselves  for  a  time  certainly  very  near  the  position 
of  foreign  States.  This  consequence  of  their  action  was  strongly 
urged  in  the  North  Carolina  convention.  "In  my  opinion," 
said  Governor  Johnston,  one  of  its  members,  "  if  we  refuse  to 
ratify  the  Constitution,  we  shall  be  entirely  out  of  the  Union, 
and  can  be  considered  only  as  a  foreign  power.  It  is  true  the 
United  States  may  admit  us  hereafter,  but  they  may  admit  us 
on  terms  unequal  and  disadvantageous  to  us."  "  It  is  objected," 
replied  the  next  speaker,  "we  shall  be  out  of  the  Union.  So 
1  wish  to  be.    We  are  left  at  liberty  to  come  in  at  any  time."| 

*  See  Washington's  letter  to  Landon  Carter,  of  May  30, 1778,  to  the  same 
effect.    Writings,  Sparks'  ed.,  v,  389. 
t  Franklin's  Works,  i,  480. 
t  4,  Elliot's  Debates,  223,  4. 


ANNEXATION  POLICY  OF   UNITED  STATES — BALDWIN.      375 

"111  my  opinion,"  said  James  Iredell,  afterwards  a  justice  of 
the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  "  when  any  State  has 
once  rejected  the  Constitution  it  can  not  claim  to  come  in 
afterwards  as  a  matter  of  right.  If  it  does  not  in  plain  terms 
reject,  but  refuses  to  accede  for  the  present,  I  think  tne  other 
States  may  regard  this  as  an  absolute  rejection  and  refuse  to 
admit  us  afterwards,  but  at  their  pleasure  and  on  what  terms 
they  please.'^* 

When,  however,  in  1789  and  1790,  these  States  reluctantly 
sent  in  their  ratifications,  no  question  was  made  about  receiving 
them  on  equal  terms  with  those  by  which  the  new  Government 
had  been  originally  organized  j  and  they  came  in  on  a  footing 
of  right. 

The  United  States  of  1789  were,  in  many  respects,  a  political 
combination  of  foreign  communities.  The  Atlantic  was  almost 
the  sole  means  of  communication  between  the  Northern  and 
Southern  States.  The  Hudson  helped  to  bind  eastern  New 
England  to  New  York.  The  Ohio  and  the  Mississippi  might 
lead  from  one  scattered  settlement  to  another,  but,  of  those 
who  lived  20  miles  from  navigable  water,  it  was  only  the  favored 
or  the  adventurous  few  who  had  ever  visited  any  State  except 
their  own. 

To  such  a  people  there  could  be  nothing  startling  in  the  acqui- 
sition of  foreign  territory.  It  could  hardly  be  more  foreign 
than  much  that  was  already  within  the  Union.  It  could  hardly 
be  more  distant,  for  a  voyage  from  Philadelphia  to  London  or 
Marseilles  took  less  time  and  money  and  involved  less  risk 
and  hardship  than  a  trip  to  Cincinnati  or  Natchez. 

Gouverneur  Morris  said  at  the  time  of  the  Louisiana  pur- 
chase that  he  had  known  since  the  day  when  the  Constitu- 
tion was  adopted  that  all  North  America  must  at  length  be 
annexed,  t 

At  the  close  of  the  Eevolutionary  war  both  England  and 
America  regarded  the  long  frontier  on  the  north  of  the  United 
States  as  not  unUkely  to  be  soon  the  scene  of  renewed  hos- 
tilities. John  Adams,  in  October,  1785,  writes  from  abroad  to 
the  Secretary  of  State  that  some  of  the  opposition  in  Great 
Britain  were  saying  ^'that  Canada  and  Nova  Scotia  must  soon 
be  ours;  there  must  be  a  war  for  it;  they  know  how  it  will 
end,  but  the  sooner  the  better;  this  done,  we  shall  be  forever 
at  peace;  till  then,  never."  | 

*J6i(Z,  231.  t  Writmjrs,  III,  185.  t Works,  viii,  333. 


376  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

But  we  had  a  boundary  still  more  difficult  to  the  southward. 
The  end  of  the  Seven  Years'  War  in  Europe  had  seen  France 
cede  to  Spain  New  Orleans,  with  so  much  of  her  Louisiana 
territory  as  lay  west  of  the  Mississippi,  and  the  rest  to  Great 
Britain.  A  cession  from  Spain  of  her  claims  on  the  Floridas 
had  confirmed  these  as  English  possessions  and  made  the 
Mississippi  their  western  boundary;  but  during  our  Eevolu- 
tionary  war  Spain  had  recaptured  them  and  her  title  was  con- 
firmed by  the  peace  of  1783. 

In  1800  Spain  ceded  back  her  Louisiana  territories  to  France, 
and  the  century  opened  with  Spain  bounding  us  below  Geor- 
gia, and  France  hemming  ns  in  at  the  mouth  of  the  Missis- 
sippi, and  by  an  undefined,  and  perhaps  indefinable,  stretch  of 
territory  running  from  the  gulf  up  toward  the  Canadian  line. 

The  leaders  of  the  Revolutionary  period,  who  survived,  were 
united  in  the  belief  that  it  was  vital  to  our  interests  to  acquire 
the  French  title.  Hamilton,*  John  Adams,t  and  Gouverneur 
Morris  t  were  of  this  mind,  not  less  than  Jefferson,  Madison, 
and  Livingston. 

There  was  a  serious  question  as  to  our  right  to  make  the 
purchase,  and  the  administration  represented  the  party  which 
regarded  the  Government  as  one  of  delegated  powers  to  be 
strictly  construed.  The  great  leader  of  the  other  school, 
Daniel  Webster,  declared,  in  1837,  during  the  heat  of  the  con- 
troversy over  the  admission  of  Texas,  that  he  did  not  believe 
the  framers  of  the  Constitution  contemplated  the  annexation 
of  foreign  territory,  and  that,  for  his  part,  he  believed  it  to 
be  for  the  interest  of  the  Union  "to  remain  as  it  is,  without 
diminution  and  without  addition."  § 

We  now  have,  however,  more  light  as  to  the  real  intention 
of  the  founders,  from  the  published  letters  of  Gouverneur 
Morris,  whose  pen  put  the  Constitution  in  form.  No  "  decree 
de  crescendo  imperio  was  inserted  in  it,"  he  wrote,  at  the  time 
of  the  Louisiana  purchase,  because  no  boundaries  could  be 
wisely  or  safely  assigned  to  our  future  expansion.  "  I  knew 
as  well  then  as  I  do  now,  that  all  North  America  must  at 
length  be  annexed  to  us — happy,  indeed,  if  the  lust  of  pos- 
session stop  there."  II 

If,  on  the  other  hand,  it  had  been  intended  to  keep  the 

*  Works,  III,  402.  t  Writings,  iii,  185.  $  Works,  i,  357. 

t  Life  and  Works,  ix,  631.     1|  Diary  and  Works,  ii,  442. 


ANNEXATION   POLICY   OF   UNITED    STATES — BALDWIN.    377 

Union  forever  within  the  limits  then  existing,  we  may  be  sure 
that  an  express  prohibition  would  have  been  inserted.  This 
was  Gallatin's  view  when  Jefferson  consulted  his  Cabinet  as  to 
the  Louisiana  negotiation.  The  adverse  position,  he  wrote  to 
the  President,  must  be  that "  the  United  States  are  precluded 
from  and  renounce  altogether  the  enlargement  of  territory — a 
provision  sufficiently  important  and  singular  to  have  deserved 
to  be  expressly  inserted."  Jefferson's  reply  to  this  letter 
shows  his  own  opinion  more  fully  than  it  is  elsewhere  given  in 
his  correspondence.  ^^ There  is,"  he  wrote,  '^  no  constitutional 
difficulty  as  to  the  acquisition  of  territory,  and  whether,  when 
acquired,  it  may  be  taken  into  the  Union  by  the  Constitution 
as  it  now  stands  will  become  a  question  of  expediency."* 

It  was  a  time,  moreover,  for  action  rather  than  for  deliberation. 

Between  a  question  of  constitutional  construction  on  the  one 
hand,  and  on  the  other  a  possible  French  army  under  a  Napo- 
leon ascending  the  Mississippi  to  reconquer  a  New  World,  the 
administration  was  not  disposed  to  hesitate  as  to  the  choice. 
Jefferson  made  the  purchase,  and  the  people  approved  the  act. 
Never  was  fifteen  millions  of  American  money  better  spent.  • 

The  next  opportunity  to  add  to  our  possessions  came  in  1819, 
when  we  bought  the  Floridas  of  Spain,  or  at  least  a  release  of 
her  title  and  pretentions  to  themj  and  the  Sui^reme  Court  of 
the  United  States,  being  soon  afterwards  called  upon  to  say 
what  relation  we  bore  to  the  new  acquisition,  held,  to  the  sur- 
prise of  some  of  the  strict  constructionists  among  our  public 
men,  that  the  right  of  the  United  States  to  wage  war  and  to 
make  treaties  necessarily  implied  the  right  to  acquire  new 
territory,  whether  by  conquest  or  purchase.  This  decision 
came  from  the  lips  of  our  greatest  chief  justice,  John  Mar- 
shall, and  has  been  repeatedly  reaffirmed  by  his  successors  on 
the  bench.t 

Neither  the  Louisiana  nor  the  Florida  purchase  had  pre- 
sented the  question  of  the  absorption  of  a  foreign  sovereignty. 
North  Carolina  and  Ehode  Island  had  finally  acceded  to  the 
Union,  not  in  such  a  character,  but  as  having  been  members 
with  the  other  States  of  a  perpetual  confederation,  for  which 
there  had  been  substituted  a  new  form  of  government. 

In  1836,  however,  came  an  application  by  the  Eepublic  of 
Texas  for  admission  into  the  Union  as  a  new  and  equal  State. 

*  Gallatin's  'Writings,  i,  114. 

t  Mormon  Church  v.  United  States,  136  U.  S.  Rep.,  1,  42. 


378  AMERICAN   HISTORICAL  ASSOCIATION. 

The  dominant  population  tliere  liad  always  been  composed 
of  immigrants  from  the  United  States.  John  Quincy  Adams, 
when  President,  had  endeavored  to  buy  it  from  Mexico,*  and 
similar  propositions  from  President  Jackson  had  also  been 
made  without  success.t  In  1836  Texas  claimed  to  have 
achieved  her  independence,  and  sent  commissioners  to  Wash- 
ington to  negotiate  a  treaty  of  annexation.  Mexico  regarded 
her  still  as  one  of  her  provinces,  and  the  United  States  delayed 
recognition  of  the  new  government  until  it  should  have  i)roved 
its  ability  to  defend  its  own  existence.  This  was  deemed  suffi- 
ciently established  after  a  year  or  two,  and  we,  as  well  as  the 
leading  European  powers,  maintained  diplomatic  relations 
with  Texas  for  several  years  while  the  question  of  annexation 
was  pending. 

The  opposition  to  annexation  was  now  led  by  John  Quincy 
Adams,  who  introduced  into  the  House  of  Eepresentatives,  in 
1838,  this  resolution : 

Mesolved,  That  the  power  of  annexing  the  people  of  any  independent 
foreign  State  to  this  Union  is  a  power  not  delegated  by  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  to  their  Congress,  or  to  any  Department  of  their 
Government,  but  reserved  by  the  people.  That  any  attempt  by  act  of 
Congress  or  by  treaty  would  be  a  usurpation  of  power,  unlawful,  and  void, 
and  which  it  would  be  the  right  and  the  duty  of  the  free  people  of  the 
Union  to  resist  and  annul. 

If,  he  said,  Texas  is  annexed,  it  would  be  such  a  violation 
of  our  national  compact  as  "not  only  inevitably  to  result  in  a 
dissolution  of  the  Union,  but  fully  to  justify  itj  and  we  not 
only  assert  that  the  people  of  the  free  States  ought  not  to  sub- 
mit to  it,  but  we  say  with  confidence  that  they  would  not  sub- 
mit to  it." 

On  the  other  hand,  many  of  the  Southern  leaders  announced 
that  if  Texas  were  not  annexed,  and  thus  an  opportunity  offered 
for  the  extension  of  slavery,  there  would  be  a  dissolution  of 
the  Union  by  the  act  of  the  South. 

Early  in  1844,  a  treaty  of  annexation  was  concluded,  but  the 
Senate  rejected  it  by  a  vote  of  more  than  two  to  one.  The 
admission  of  Texas  was  made  the  main  issue  in  the  Presiden- 
tial election  of  the  year.  The  Democratic  party  favored  it  in 
their  platform,  and  won  a  decisive  victory.  President  Tyler, 
thereupon,  in  his  message  to  Congress  at  its  December  session, 

*  In  1827.     Diary  vii,  239.     t  Jackson  offered  $5,000,000  for  it  in  1835. 


ANNEXATION  POLICY    OF   UNITED  STATES — BALDWIN.      379 

recommended  that  the  verdict  of  the  people  be  ratified  by  an 
act  of  annexation,  which  should  adopt  and  make  into  law  the 
terms  of  agreement  already  agreed  on  by  the  two  governments. 

A  compromise  bill  was  passed  by  which  the  consent  of  Con- 
gress was  given  to  the  erection  of  Texas  into  a  new  State  of 
the  United  States,  but  the  President  was  authorized,  should 
he  deem  it  better  to  accomplish  the  same  purpose  by  a  treaty, 
to  proceed  in  that  manner.  President  Tyler  promptly  approved 
the  act,  and  believing  that  any  treaty  he  might  negotiate 
would  fail  in  the  Senate,  proceeded  under  the  legislative  clause, 
and  on  the  last  day  of  his  term  of  office  hurried  off'  an  envoy 
to  Texas  to  obtain  the  consent  of  that  Eepublic,  which  was 
soon  given,  and  Texas,  therefore,  came  into  the  Union  in  1845, 
not  by  treaty,  but  by  virtue  of  a  statute  of  the  United  States 
supported  by  similar  legislation  of  her  own. 

It  is  obvious  that  this  mode  of  admitting  a  new  State  trenched 
directly  on  the  importance  of  the  States,  in  so  far  as  they  can  be 
regarded  as  constituents  of  the  Federal  Government.  Treaty- 
making  was  confided  by  the  Constitution  exclusively  to  the 
President  and  Senate,  while  the  composition  of  the  Senate  was 
made  such  as  not  only  to  secure,  upon  every  question  of  that 
nature,  an  equal  voice  to  each  State,  but  to  guaranty  a  minority 
of  the  States  against  being  overborne  by  anything  less  than 
two-thirds  of  all.  The  Texas  precedent  gave  the  popular 
branch  equal  powers  as  to  the  admission  of  a  foreign  State, 
and  made  the  votes  of  a  bare  majority  of  the  upper  house  suffi- 
cient. 

From  a  very  early  period  Cuba  has  been  regarded  by  lead- 
ing Southern  statesmen  as  a  desirable  acquisition  for  us.  In 
1809,  Jefferson  wrote  in  regard  to  this  to  President  Madison, 
that  "it  will  be  objected  to  our  receiving  Cuba  that  no  limit 
can  then  be  drawn  to  our  future  acquisitions.  Cuba  can  be 
defended  by  us  without  a  navy;  and  this  develops  the  princi- 
ple which  ought  to  limit  our  views.  I^othiug  should  ever  be 
accepted  which  would  require  a  navy  to  defend  it."  * 

A  few  years  later,  John  Quincy  Adams,  as  Secretary  of 
State,  in  his  instructions  to  our  minister  to  Spain,  wrote  that 
Cuba  and  Porto  Eico  were  natural  appendages  to  our  conti- 
nent, and  Cuba  had  become  *'an  object  of  transcendent 
importance  to  the  commercial  and  political  interests  of  our 
Union.    Its  commanding  position,  with  reference  to  the  Gulf 

*  See  also  John  Quincy  Adams'  Diary,  v,  38. 


380  AMERICAN  HISTORICAL   ASSOCIATION. 

of  Mexico  and  the  West  India  seas  j  the  character  of  its  popu- 
lation j  its  situation  midway  between  our  Southern  coast  and 
the  island  of  San  Domingo ;  its  safe  and  capacious  harbor  of 
the  Havana,  fronting  a  long  line  of  our  shores  destitute  of  the 
same  advantage j  the  nature  of  its  productions  and  of  its 
wants,  furnishing  the  supplies  and  needing  the  returns  of  a 
commerce  immensely  profitable  and  mutually  beneficial,  give 
it  an  importance  in  the  sum  of  our  national  interests  with 
which  that  of  no  other  foreign  territory  can  be  compared,  and 
little  inferior  to  that  which  binds  the  different  members  of 
this  Union  together.  Such,  indeed,  are,  between  the  interests 
of  that  island  and  of  this  country,  the  geographical,  commer- 
cial, moral,  and  political  relations  formed  by  nature,  gathering 
in  the  process  of  time,  and  even  now  verging  to  maturity,  that, 
in  looking  forward  to  the  probable  course  of  events  for  the 
short  period  of  half  a  century,  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  resist 
the  conviction  that  the  annexation  of  Cuba  to  our  Federal 
Republic  will  be  indispensable  to  the  continuance  and  integrity 
of  the  Union  itself.  It  is  obvious,  however,  that  for  this  event 
we  are  not  yet  prepared.  Numerous  and  formidable  objections 
to  the  extension  of  our  territorial  dominions  beyond  sea  present 
themselves  to  the  first  contemplation  of  the  subject  j  obstacles 
to  the  system  of  policy  by  which  alone  that  result  can  be  com- 
passed and  maintained,  are  to  be  foreseen  and  surmounted, 
both  at  home  and  abroad;  but  there  are  laws  of  political  as 
well  as  of  physical  gravitation  j  and  if  an  apple,  severed  by  the 
tempest  from  its  native  tree,  can  not  choose  but  fall  to  the 
ground,  Cuba,  forcibly  disjoined  from  its  own  unnatural  con- 
nection with  Spain,  and  incapable  of  self-support,  can  gravi- 
tate only  towards  the  Ii^Torth  American  Union,  which,  by  the 
same  law  of  nature,  can  not  cast  her  off  from  its  bosom."* 

The  immediate  object  in  view  was  to  prevent  Great  Britain 
from  acquiring  Cuba.  Jefferson  wrote  to  President  Monroe,  at 
about  the  same  time  (1823)  that  should  Great  Britain  take  it, 
he  would  not  be  for  going  to  war  for  it,  "because  the  first  war 
on  other  accounts  will  give  it  to  us,  or  the  island  will  give  itself 
to  us,  when  able  to  do  so."  "  If  we  could  get  it  peaceably,"  he 
said,  "it  would  fill  up  the  measure  of  our  well  being." 

President  Polk  tried  to  buy  it  from  Spain,  and  a  hundred 
milhons  is  said  to  have  been  the  sum  offered. 

In  1852,  Great  Britain  and  France  proposed  to  us  the  forma- 

*1,  Wharton's  Dig.  of  Int.  Law,  361. 


ANNEXATION  POLICY  OF  UNITED  STATES — BALDWIN.      381 

tion  of  a  tripartite  agreement,  by  wliicli  each  power  disclaimed 
forever  any  intention  to  obtain  possession  of  the  island,  and  all 
undertook  to  discountenance  any  attempts  to  acquire  it  on  the 
part  of  any  other  government.  President  Fillmore  declined 
the  overture,  but  in  referring  to  it  in  his  annual  message,  said 
that  were  Cuba  "comparatively  destitute  of  inhabitants  or 
occupied  by  a  kindred  race,  I  should  regard  it,  if  voluntarily 
ceded  by  Spain,  as  a  most  desirable  acquisition.  But  under 
existing  circumstances,  I  should  look  upon  its  incorporation 
i